Sunday, February 23, 2014

Aviva Premiership Americas Exports - Round 15 Wrap

Photo Sporting life: Mariano Galarza
 impressed for Worcester Warriors
While the global rugby media was focused on the Six Nations there was a full round of Aviva Premiership club rugby being played in England. Players were missing to Six Nations duty but there were still plenty of international players in action, including a notable number of players from the Americas. Argentina, Canada and the USA all had players in action. The caliber of players per nation places the Americas as a region with a credible reputation to be allocated Rugby World Cup 2023. Argentina´s experiences in attracting supporters to attend test matches and the country´s Super Rugby future underline the case for the premier rugby tournament to be in Argentina. 

Bath 32-25 London Wasps
West Country side Bath continued its impressive season with a home victory of the mid-table London Wasps. The result keeps Bath in contention for a Semi Finals appearance and with the club not involved in the Heineken Cup Quarter Finals it will be able to concentrate its resources on the Aviva Premiership unlike Saracens and the Leicester Tigers. Featuring for Bath were two Pumas. Horacio Agulla who started on the left wing and Juan Pablo Orlandi started at tighthead prop. Also involved was Eusebio Guiñazú who was a replacement hooker. All three were involved in the 2013 Rugby Championship. Also in the match was former Puma Esteban Lozada who was a replacement second-rower for London Wasps.

Gloucester 25-20 Harlequins
One of the flaws of the European season is that there are occasions in which clubs are forced into playing league matches without leading players. In the case of Gloucester v the Harlequins this was the case as both clubs were missing players to international duty. The Quins were more effected that the home side and it worked in favor of the lower ranked club as Gloucester was able to complete what would have been an unlikely win against a full strength Harlequins side. In losing the Quins drop out of the top four. 

Worcester Warriors 12-24 Sale Sharks
Bottom of the table Worcester hosted the Sale Sharks on Saturday in what was a prime opportunity to collect a first win of the season. But, not for the first time this season, the Warriors failed to gel and lost the match without collecting any competition points. The best Worcester player was Argentine international Mariano Galarza who scored two tries playing in the second-row. He was joined in the starting lineup by Agustín Creevy who was the starting hooker and Leonardo Senatore who played at the back of the scrum. 

London Irish 15-20 Leicester Tigers
Similar to last season the fortuntes of London Irish have been significantly better after the turn of the year than before it. Gaving been in danger of possible relegation the London Irish club is now very much safe but will not be involved in the play-offs. The Leicester Tigers, in contrast, are in with a realistic chance of making the play-offs and appearing in a tenth consecutive final. Involved for London Irish was Jebb Sinclair. The Canadian was a second-row replacement. Marcos Ayerza started at loosehead prop for Leicester while the Tri-Nations of the Americas were present as USA fullback Blaine Scully started on the right wing for the Tigers.

Newcastle Falcons 16-22 Northampton Saints
A late try from the Newcastle Falcons saw the Northern most Aviva Premiership club secure a losing bonus point and, as such, move one point further above the Worcester Warriors in the standings. For Northampton the win sees the club retain its strong position at the top but it further questions the structure of the Aviva Premiership as the Salary Cap clearly fails to make the competition even. Newcastle has no players involved in the English team at all while Northampton has Luther Burrell, Lee Dickson, Tom Wood, Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley involved for England and George North for Wales. Both teams had players from the Americas involved in the fixture. Puma Gonzalo Tiesi started at outside centre while Samu Manoa started in the second-row for the Saints.

Saracens 23-10 Exeter Chiefs
A Northampton Saints v Saracens final could very well be on the cards this season. The two sides appear to be the leading candidates with them having been the strongest performers overall. Saracens win over the Exeter Chiefs was not the best performance of the season but it was another four competition points. The club is nine points ahead of Bath and one behind the leading Northampton. Featuring on the left wing for Saracens was Chris Wyles while the American was joined in the final minutes by Marcelo Bosch who was a replacement back.

1 Northampton 59
2 Saracens 58
3 Bath 49
4 Leicester 44
5 Harlequins 41
6 Sale Sharks 39
7 London Wasps 34
8 Exeter Chiefs 30
9 Gloucester 27
10 London Irish 26 
11 Newcastle 16
12 Worcester 4

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