Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Horacio Agulla scores v Worcester

Photo ESPN Scrum
Veteran Puma Horacio Agulla contnued his strong form in the Aviva Premiership in scoring a first half try for Bath against the Worcester Warriors on Saturday. Bath won the match 32-20 to put one foot inside the play-offs. bath´s two remaining regular season matches are against the Northampton Saints and the Harlequins. Should the club succeed in winning one of them it will secure a place in the final four. 

Agulla´s first half try was his third in the Aviva Premiership this season. He has scored a number of other tries in other competitions for Bath this season including a hat-trick earlier this month against his former French club Brive in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

The twenty-nine year old from Buenos Aires is capable of playing not only on either wing but also as a fullback or mid-fielder. Indeed he has played in both positions previously for both club and country. With Daniel Hourcade denied access to centres Marcelo Bosch and Santiago Fernández he moved Agulla to outside centre for Argentina´s final test of 2013, the away victory against Italy.

Taking the spot of Agulla against Italy was Juan Imhoff who scored in the left corner and also scored a try on Saturday in Europe. Neither Agulla nor Imhoff is likely to play for Argentina in June. Both will instead be rested ahead of the Rugby Championship with the agreement between the UAR and Premier Rugby in England and the LNR in France coming into effect. In their place others based in Europe or at home will be given an opportunity.

Agulla has been unable to convert his form in the Aviva Premiership or previously in the Top 14 into test rugby. In his fifty-one test appearances he has a return of four test tries. His test match try drought has him not having scored a try since 2010. He has nonetheless been a regular in the test team and, based on current form in England, is likely to remain in the senior squad. His future, however, would appear to arguably be suited to playing outside centre.

A number of tries scored for Bath have shown Agulla´s ability to come off his wing and act as a mid-field runner. He has excelled at this when given the chance for his country as was the case against Italy in 2013 and Wales, from the bench, in 2012.

His try against Worcester on the weekend was a combination of a winger and a centres try. He linked with George Ford out wide before stepping past two defenders to score. In doing so Agulla stepped inside rather than look to utilize the regualr wingers trick of speed to get on the outside and past the defending players. 

Bath is tied with the Leicester Tigers on 64 competition points. Ahead are Saracens and the Northampton Saints who are secure of their places in the Semi Finals. The only clubs that could catch either Bath or Leicester are the Harlequins or Sale Sharks but neither is likely to succeed in doing so. 

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