Sunday, March 23, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Americas Exports Round 17 Wrap

Photo London 24
Marcelo Bosch scored at Wembley
The seventeenth round of England´s domestic competition, the Aviva Premiership took place over the weekend with matches being played from Friday through Sunday. Involved were players from Argentina and Canada but no players from the USA featured due to the Rugby World Cup Qualifier in Montevideo. With there now being just five rounds remaining clubs are in need of playing their best rugby of the season if they are to reach the play-offs. At the foot of the ladder remains the Worcester Warriors a club that is yet to win an Aviva Premiership match this season. 

Worcester Warriors 11-13 London Wasps
The wooden spoon and relegation draws closer for the Worcester Warriors. The club is facing the realistic possibility of failing to win a match all season in the Aviva Premiership. This is the case despite the club having been in position to win a number of matches, including Firday night´s home encounter against the London Wasps. The club collected one point rather than four. In a heart-breaking loss Worcester lost in the final minute. Starting for the Warriors were Pumas Agustín Creevy and Mariano Galarza. Also involved was former Puma Ignacio Mieres who was on the bench. Worcester is now twelve points, or three wins behind Newcastle. In order to avoid relegation Worcester therefore needs at least three wins and also requries Newcastle not to collect bonus points.

Sale Sharks 19-6 Northampton Saints
The form of the Northampton Saints suggested that the club would win this match easily. Not only has Northampton been playing very well and leading the Aviva Premiership but it has been doing while despite missing players to international duty during the Six Nations. One player to have been highly impressive is Samu Manoa who missed the match on Saturday due to featuring for the USA v Uruguay. The upset victory sees the Sale Sharks move ahead of the Harlequins. 

Saracens 39-17 Harlequins
A world record attendance for a regular season club rugby match occured in London on Saturday with Saracens´ relocated home match selling 83,889 tickets at the home of English soccer, Wembley Stadium. The side fielded by the Harlequins was below full strength which meant the club was overpowered by a Saracens team packed with talent. Starting in the mid-field was Puma Marcelo Bosch who scored what was one of five tries scored by his club. While Bosch´s club leads the Aviva Premiership his former club, Biarritz Olympique has been relegated to France´s second divsion, the Pro d2.

Gloucester 40-33 Newcastle Falcons
Neither Gloucester nor the Newcastle Falcons will be playing any part in the Aviva Premiership play-offs this season. To the contrary both are just aiming to stay clear of the relegation zone. Both appear to be very safe and with Gloucester earning five competition points and Newcastle two the pressure on Worcester to find a way to win has increased. Starting for Newcastle in the mid-field was Puma Gonzalo Tiesi who, unlike Bosch, should be playing for Argentina in June against Ireland and Scotland.

London Irish 23-44 Bath
London Irish is another side that has failed to impress this season. The same cannot be said of Bath Rugby. The West Country club has been one of the better performers and is now safely in the top four and appears likely to remain so. Involved in the match for London Irish was Canadian Jebb Sinclair who was a replacement. Pumas Horacio Agulla and Juan Pablo Orlandi were both late replacements for Bath.

Leicester Tigers 45-15 Exeter Chiefs
The final match of the round was played on Sunday at Welford Road. Many Leicester Tigers supporters remain unhappy with the venue missing out on hosting Rugby World Cup matches but the reality is that the dimensions of the field are irregular. With small in-goal areas and a narrow than normal width the field was overlooked for the World Cup. The match against the visiting Exeter Chiefs was expected to be a genuine contest but the home side was in full control and made metres with ease. Starting for the Leicester Tigers was club veteran Marcos Ayerza who has been playing test rugby for Argentina since 2004.

1 Saracens 67
2 Northampton 64
3 Bath 54
4 Leicester 54
5 Sale Sharks 47
6 Harlequins 45
7 London Wasps 39
8 Exeter Chiefs 34
9 Gloucester 32
10 London Irish 26
11 Newcastle 18 
12 Worcester 6

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