|Photo Chronicle Live|
England's domestic professional competition, the Aviva Premiership got underway this weekend. The opening round of play saw players from Argentina and the USA involved, some of whom are expected to be a part of Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and Wales. With this new season being the final one before the World Cup there is a lot of reason to pay attention both to the matches and to the off-field organization. Despite it being just the opening round the matches were largely similar in outcome to those from recent seasons as the same strong sides won and the less so failed to do so.
Northampton Saints 53-6 Gloucester
The opening match of the season was contested by two teams but it was seemingly only the home team playing. Scoring eight tries to zero the Northampton Saints won the fixture easily and did so with USA enforcer Samu Manoa starting at the back of the scrum. Puma Mariano Galarza was missing for Gloucester due to his involvement in Saturday's test match against New Zealand.
Leicester Tigers 36-17 Newcastle Falcons
English club rugby powerhouses the Leicester Tigers started with a strong win and did so with Fijian Vereniki Goneva scoring a hat-trick. Starting on the other wing was USA Eagles' flier Blain Scully while Canadian-Italian Robert Barbieri was on the bench. Starting for Newcastle was Juan Pablo Socino who made his debut appearance at this level and kicked three goals. Former Puma Gonzalo Tiesi was a 50th minute replacement.
London Irish 15-20 Harlequins
The first of two matches in the London Double Header was a dull affair. The stronger of the two in recent years, the Harlequins, scored two first half tries but failed to score any points in the second half. London Irish's points were all from kicks. Canadian Jebb Sinclair was not involved.
Saracens 34-28 Wasps
Two of England's leading wingers impressed in the second half of the London Double Header with David Strettle scoring three tries and Christian Wade two. The expected win for Saracens continued with the theme of predictable opening round results. Saracens centre Marcelo Bosch was playing for Argentina against New Zealand this weekend.
Sale Sharks 20-29 Bath
An away victory for Bath sees the Western Country side starting the season very well. Last season the club narrowly missed out on a place in the Semi Finals. Sale, for its part, has been avoiding relegation over previous seasons and lacks comparable depth. Bath won without Horacio Agulla who was playing against the All Blacks in Napier.
London Welsh 0-52 Exeter Chiefs
Having won promotion back to the Premiership from the RFU Championship London Welsh was looking for a different outcome than what took place on Sunday. With a crowd of just 2,776 on hand at Kassam Stadium the home side was humiliated by Exeter. Involved for London Welsh was former Puma prop Pablo Henn who made his debut from the bench. He was yellow carded in the 70th minute.