Sunday, September 14, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Americas Players Review - Round 2

Photo Sky Sports
Round two of England's Aviva Premiership came to a close earlier today. It was a round featuring a number of talking points such as a shock performance from heavyweights Harlequins on Friday and a loss for the reigning champions, Northampton. Involved were players from Argentina and the USA - two countries of vital importance to the future of the sport of rugby. With expansion being crucial to sustainability the two countries offer realistic opportunities as future Rugby World Cup hosts. Of them Argentina is ideal for 2023 while the USA looms as a longer-term option, the earliest time possibly being 2031.

Harlequins 0-39 Saracens
In arguably the worst Harlequins performance since the team won promotion back to the Premiership from the second division close to a decade ago, the home side was humiliated by London-based rivals Saracens. Of note was the number of potential English squad members of next year's World Cup involved for the Harlequins. Mike Brown, Marland Yarde, Jordan Turner-Hall, Danny Care, Chris Robshaw and Joe Marler all started. Veteran USA Eagles fullback Chris Wyles was on the ebnch for Saracens.

Exeter Chiefs 20-24 Leicester Tigers 
A strong first half from the Exeter Chiefs had the home side leading at half time but the class of the Leicester Tigers saw the visiting club come out on top. Canadian-Italian Robert Barbieri started for the Tigers, playing back-row.

Bath 53-26 London Welsh
A much better performance from London Welsh saw the team score twenty-six more points than in the opening round. The club, nonetheless, conceded far too many points which explains the club's placement firmly at the bottom of the ladder with a complicated for and against record. 

Gloucester 34-27 Sale Sharks
Having been behind by three tries to zero at the interval Gloucester completed a second half come back to defeat the northern visitors on Saturday. The star of the three tries to four victory was Scotland international scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw. Curiously, he faced-off against Chris Cuisiter in an all-Scottish scrumhalf battle. 

Wasps 20-16 Northampton Saints
In the first of two Sunday fixtures an upset took place as the Wasps defeated last season's title winning Northampton Saints. The result means that after two rounds nine of the twelve premiership sides have won a match. USA Eagles enforcer Samu Manoa started at number 8 for the visiting club.

Newcastle Falcons 18-20 London Irish
The round was completed with Newcastle hosting London Irish earlier today. In a close match the visiting team from the south were in control for much of the match only for Newcastle to score a late try. USA prop Eric Fry made his debut for the home side. He started at loosehead prop. Also involved was uncapped Argentine pivot Juan Pablo Socino who played inside centre and kicked a penalty.

1
Saracens
9
2
Bath
9
3
Leicester Tigers
9
4
Exeter Chiefs
6
5
Northampton Saints
6
6
Wasps
5
7
London Irish
5
8
Harlequins
4
9
Gloucester
4
10
Sale Sharks
2
11
Newcastle Falcons
1
12
London Welsh
1

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