Sunday, December 1, 2013

Aviva Premiership Americas Exports - Round 9 Wrap

Photo Getty Images: Samu Manoa continued his fine form in England this weekend.
After nine rounds of the English domestic competition, the Aviva Premiership there is a clear difference between those in contention of the titles and those making up the numbers. The top two played sides, Saracens and Northampton, hold a notable advantage over the teams ranked third to fifth while the eighth placed Sale Sharks sits two wins behind the fourth placed Harlequins. Round nine again featured players from Argentina, Canada and the USA whom underline the contribution of the Americas to the global game and enforce the argument of Argentina hosting Rugby World Cup 2023.

Gloucester 17-22 Leicester
Played at Kingholm, the smallest venue set to host matches at Rugby World Cup 2015, the Leicester Tigers completed an away victory. The Tigers have not been playing so well so far this season by their standards and nor has Gloucester. The West Country club is third from the bottom and four wins behind the top four. Starting the match for Leicester was USA winger Blaine Scully who long time Tigers front-rower Marcos Ayerza earned another cap for the club.

Worcester 10-33 Northampton
Gloucester´s season has been far from a happy one but the club is, nonetheless, in a much healithier position than the bottom of the table Worcester Warriors. Worcester is yet to win a match and is ten points behind the second to bottom side which means that even if it is to keep losing it must collect bonus points. Starting for the Warriors were two Argentine players. Former Pumas fly half Ignacio Mieres started at pivot and kicked two goals. Mariano Galarza started in the second-row. For Northampton news coming from the USA is that one of the best players of November, Cam Dolan is set to join the club. The USA number 8 will be the second Eagle and could well be starting for the Saints together with Samu Manoa who scored a try against Worcester.

Bath 21-16 Exeter
Two teams doing well are the West Country sides Bath and the Exeter Chiefs. Their match on Saturday afternoon attracted a good crowd but the match itself was far from being impressive. Bath won without scoring a try as future English test fly half George Ford had a good match by landing seven goals. He was joined by Horacio Agulla in the starting lineup. The Puma played on the right wing.

London Irish 12-19 London Wasps
Neither London based club has been having the best of seasons and were it not for the dire performances of the Worcester Warriors then panic may indeed have set in. Neither club is likely to be able to reach the play-offs and with English clubs very likely to boycott next seasons Heineken Cup there is, in actuality, very little to play for. Canadian Jebb Sinclair started the match for London Irish.

Saracens 24-19 Sale Sharks
While the two London sides with London in their name are struggling to be competitive the two others are not and Saracens continues to be the team to beat this season. Saracens´ latest victory sees the club maintain its top of the table position. The win featured Chris Wyles starting in the mid-field and Marcelo Bosch entering as a late replacement. Wyles is set to be joined by two other USA Eagles´ players. Curtis Reed of This is American Rugby (TIAR) reports that former Saracens second-rower Hayden Smith is back at the club following his stint in the NFL playing for the New York Jets. Smith has played 18 tests for the USA and was a very strong performer in the second-row at Rugby World Cup 2011. Also joining Saracens is 18 year old Titi Lamositele. The young prop from Bellingham, Washington is now a member of the Saracens academy which gives the club three Eagles.

Newcastle 9-35 Harlequins
The Newcastle Falcons hosted the Harlequins on Sunday in the final match of the round but the northern English club was unable to give its supporters anything to cheer about as the London based side was far too strong. The Quins bonus point victory sees the club sit two points above Leicester in fourth position. Pumas centre Gonzalo Tiesi will play for Newcastle after recovering from the injurty he picked up against England in the November internationals.

1 Saracens 36
2 Northampton 34
3 Bath 30
4 Harlequins 28
5 Leicester 26
6 Exeter 23
7 London Wasps 22
8 Sale Sharks 20
9 Newcastle 13
10 Gloucester 13
11 London Irish 12
12 Worcester 2

* Play-offs Zone
* Relegation Zone

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