Sunday, April 13, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Americas Exports Round 19 Wrap

Photo Rugby Redefined
Organizers of the Aviva Premiership would have the public believe that it is the most competitive league in the world. But after 19 rounds of the 2013-2014 season it appears to be significantly less competitive than the Top 14 in France. Saracens leads the competition with 17 wins and 76 competition points while Worcester has 1 win and 12 points. The Salary Cap is not making it as close as the French league and nor are English sides performing as well on the European stage. It is a league with many imported players and there were  notable players from the Americas involved. 

Sale Sharks 12-27 Harlequins
The London based Harlequins completed a crucial away victory on Friday evening to open the round. It was a result that sees the Harlequins close in on a place in the new European competition next season and also one that increases the possibility of the Quins playing in the Semi Finals of this seasons English Premiership. Canadian Phil MacKenzie did not feature for the Sale Sharks.

Leicester Tigers 27-15 London Wasps
With the Leicester Tigers out of the Heineken Cup the club is able to focus all of its resources on the Aviva Premiership. Not only will this assist the club in its attempts to win back the title but the club will have fewer matches to play than will Saracens which, together with Northampton, is arguably the only team capable of stopping the Tigers. USA Eagles winger Blaine Scully started for Leicester while Pumas Marcos Ayerza and Pablo Matera were both replacements against the Wasps. Gonzalo Camacho is expected to make his long awaited debut for Leicester next weekend.

Worcester Warriors 33-38 Exeter Chiefs
One of the matches of the season took place on Saturday afternoon with the bottom of the table Worcester Warriors looking to win for the second time as it seeks to avoid relegation. Although the club was unable to win it did secure two competition points due to it losing by fewer than seven points and also scoring four tries. One of the tries was scored by Argentine hooker Agustín Creevy who was joined in the starting lineup by Mariano Galarza who played in the second-row. Galarza will play for Gloucester next season. 

Gloucester 17-18 Bath
Gloucester hosted Bath on Saturday in the battle of the West Country which turned out to be a day of questions for Rugby World Cup and Aviva Premiership authorities. Seven cards were given out, two of which were reds. There was fighting involving head-buts and punches and there were also strong accusations that the referee, Tim Wigglesworth, was bottled by an invading fan. The match was played at Kingsholm which is to host four Rugby World Cup 2015 matches including the notable clash between Scotland and Japan. Involved in the match, but not carded, was Puma Horacio Agulla who played on the left wing. Agulla went over for a try in the third minute but it was called back after Bath had been offside. Neither Eusebio Guiñazú nor Juan Pablo Orlandi were involved.

Saracens 28-24 Northampton
London based side Saracens was given a late scare as the Northampton Saints came back from being well behind to finish within four points. Saracens had held a 28-10 lead in the 55th minute following a try scored by Puma Marcelo Bosch. The Argentine outside centre had a good performance in general as he also kicked two first half penalties from long range and was awarded man of the match. He was replaced in the 70th minute and without him two tries were conceeded with Northampton´s backs finding their way over the tryline. Two USA players were also involved in the match with Chris Wyles playing fullback for Saracens and Samu Manoa playing number eight for Northampton.

London Irish 40-12 Newcastle
The Worcester Warriors remain at the bottom of the standings and continue to be the most likely team to be relegated to the RFU Championship. The club is, nonetheless, improving to close the gap as Newcastle is now just seven points ahead. Gonzalo Tiesi was not involved for Newcastle and Jebb Sinclair also missed out for London Irish. Such was the performance of the home side that the Exiles had the bonus point secured in the first half.

Northampton Saints
Leicester Tigers
Sale Sharks
Exeter Chiefs
London Wasps
London Irish
Newcastle Falcons
Worcester Warriors

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