Sunday, February 9, 2014

Aviva Premiership Americas Exports - Round 13 Wrap

Photo London24: Bosch scored a try
Limitations placed on tournament organizers meant that a full round of matches in the Aviva Premiership was played over the weekend. Similar to the Rabo Direct Pro 12 and the Top 14 there is a need to have some rounds take place during the Six Nations window due to there being no viable alternative. Round thirteen of the Aviva Premiership resulted in changes to the standings as five clubs continue to battle for the third and fourth placed positions in the table behind the dominant Saracens and Northampton Saints. On show were players from the Americas as the last region to be allocated a Rugby World Cup had players in action and players scoring tries. 

Worcester Warriors 22-23 Leicester Tigers
It was heartbreak for the Worcester Warriors in the opening match of the round on Friday as the bottom of the table club missed out on victory against the current champions by just one point. Although time is running out for Worcester the clubs was, nonetheless, able to close the gap between itself and the eleventh placed Newcastle Falcons. The notable feature of the match was the return of hooker Agustín Creevy. The Argentine was injured prior to the November internationals. He was one of four Pumas involved for the Warriors with the Gloucester bound Mariano Galarza starting in the second-row, back-rower Leonardo Senatore being a replacement forward and former Pumas fly half Ignacio Mieres covering pivot. Leicester also had Pumas with Marcos Ayerza starting at loosehead prop and back-rower Pablo Matera covering on the bench. USA fullback Blaine Scully started on the right wing.

Sale Sharks 24-19 Gloucester
The Sale Sharks edged closer to an unlikely appearance in the Aviva Premiership Semi Finals with a home victory over Gloucester on Friday. Sale are just two points behind Leicester while Gloucester is firmly in ninth position but now facing the danger of dropping following London Irish´s conquest of Allianz Park on Saturday afternoon.

Bath 24-6 Newcastle
Despite there being a Salary Cap in England it is shoing little to no signs of actually producing a more competitive domestic competition. Bath has players involved in the national English team and also has international players from other nations including Argentina. Newcastle, in contrast has no players involved in the English test side and also fewer players of note from abroad. Bath, nonetheless, remains a much more attractive team to play for as evidenced by the quality of its playing roster. Involved in the match were three Pumas with Horacio Agulla scoring a try after coming on from the bench for Bath. Juan Pablo Orlandi started at tighthead prop while Gonzalo Tiesi played outside centre for 

Saracens 13-22 London Irish
The large contingent of English international players from Saracens handed London Irish an opportunity which it took with open hands. The away victory will not sit well with Worcester players, management or supporters as relegation continues to approach. The starting mid-fielders for Saracens were both from the Americas. USA veteran Chris Wyles played inside centre while Marcelo Bosch was a try-scorer playing at outside centre. Also featuring in the match was Canadian utility forward, Jebb Sinclair who was on the London Irish bench.

Exeter Chiefs 16-17 Northampton Saints
The Northampton Saints overtook Saracens to claim the top of the table postion on Saturday. In winning at Sandy Park Northampton are now sitting very comfortable and not likely to miss out on a place in the play-offs. Starting for the club was USA powerhouse Samu Manoa who scored a first half try. 

Harlequins 11-10 London Wasps
The round came to a close with one match on Sunday afternoon. The London derby may have been low scoring but it was a match in which the result was not determined until the final minutes. London Wasps had been looking like winning only for the Harlequins to score two minutes from full time to wrap up a home victory. None of the Wasps´ players from the Americas were involved in the fixture. 

1 Northampton 51
2 Saracens 50
3 Bath 40
4 Harlequins 36
5 Leicester 36
6 Sale Sharks 34
7 London Wasps 32
8 Exeter Chiefs 29
9 Gloucester 22
10 London Irish 21
11 Newcastle 14
12 Worcester 4

* Play-offs Zone
* Relegation Zone

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