Sunday, January 5, 2014

Aviva Premiership Americas Exports - Round 12 Wrap

Puma Marcelo Bosch was in action
The first round of the English national competition, the Aviva Premiership for 2014 was completed on Sunday afternoon. It was a round featuring a number of surprises that has seen changes to the standings. With ten rounds remaining it appears that Gloucester, London Irish, the Newcastle Falcons and the Worcester Warriors are not going to be competing in the Semi Finals. The remaining teams, aside from the top two, are quite evently places with all having a chance. 

Newcastle Falcons 8-16 Sale Sharks
The round started on Friday evening with two matches, one of which was the battle of the north with Newcastle playing host to the Sale Sharks. With the teams scoring one try each the result was determined by goalkicking as the visitors completed an a way victory which sees the club in touch with the  top half of the standings. Canadian international Phil MacKenzie was on the bench for the Sharks. Puma Gonzalo Tiesi is yet to represent Newcastle after having injured himself against Wales in November. 

Northampton 23-9 Harlequins
Friday´s other fixture underlined a belief held by many that this season looms as being the one of the Saints. Northampton has been in fine form all season with only one loss thus far in the Aviva Premiership. Together with the competition leading Saracens the clubs hold a significant lead over the remaining teams in the competition. USA international Samu Manoa started for the Saints at number eight. 

London Irish 22-9 Worcester Warriors
Despite calls having been made claiming that Worcester is far from being relegated it now nothing other than confirmed that the facing the Warriors is as tough as that facing Biarritz in the Top 14. London Irish has struggled to compete this season in the Aviva Premiership and has looked far from a team capable of defeating another by thirteen points. The result against Worcester means Worcester is three wins behind the new second to bottom placed side, Newcastle. Canadian Jebb Sinclair played the final quarter for London Irish while former Puma Ignacio Mieres did the same for Worcester. Also involved for the visitors were two current Pumas with back-rower Leonardo Senatore starting but not reurning after being yellow carded in the 53rd minute and second-rower Mariano Galarza who played the full 80 minutes.

Gloucester 8-29 Saracens
When England was the best team in the world Gloucester was one of the best teams in England. While there have been indications that Gloucester may be returning to form Saturday afternoons home hammering against top of the table Saracens only served to underline the reason why star fly half Freddie Burns is moving to Leicester. Burns has not been playing to his potential this season with part of the reason being that the pack has struggled. Starting at outside centre for Saracens was Puma Marcelo Bosch while USA uitility Chris Wyles played the final fifteen minutes as a replacement. 

Leicester 27-27 Bath
The first of two Sunday afternoon matches confirmed that the current Leicester Tigers team is a shadow of the side that won last year and has been England´s leading team both at home and in the Heineken Cup since losing the European final against the London Wasps in 2007. Rarely do teams go to Welford Road and return with competition points but this season it is not so. Today´s draw sees the Leicester Tigers remain outside of the top four on points difference and now just one point ahead of London Wasps, a side with a far weaker pool of players. Leicester has, indeed, arguably gone about its tactics in a questionable manner. An example being the underuse of Pablo Matera. The 20 year old Puma was again not used against Bath. Marcos Ayerza was though with him playing loosehead prop. Bath´s three Pumas were all second half replacements with Horacio Agulla coming on five minutes from full time, Eusebio Guiñazú playing the final ten minutes and Juan Pablo Orlandi playing the final thirteen.

London Wasps 19-16 Exeter Chiefs
Concerning to English rugby is that Andy Goode is able to be amongst the best fly halves in the Aviva Premiership. The 33 year old was again key to the Wasps´ victory yet he is certain to not be considered at al by Stuart Lancaster for the Six Nations. In winning the London based side has moved up into sixth position. The win included USA centre Andrew Suniula who was on the bench.

1 Saracens 50
2 Northampton 47
3 Bath 36
4 Harlequins 32
5 Leicester 32
6 London Wasps 31
7 Sale Sharks 29
8 Exeter Chiefs 28
9 Gloucester 21
10 London Irish 14
11 Newcastle 14
12 Worcester 3

* Play-Offs Zone
* Relegation Zone

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