Sunday, November 16, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Americas Players Review - Round 7

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Despite England having a home international at Twickenham against South Africa on Saturday there was still a full round of rugby being played in the Aviva Premiership. Missing were not only England's test players but also players from a host of nations including both Argentina and Canada. The USA's players were free to play for their clubs, though, based on USA Rugby having reached an agreement with Premier Rugby which would enable the USA Eagles test in Chicago v New Zealand outside of the compulsory release window to feature Eagles' players. A number of U.S. players were therefore involved this weekend as were some Pumas past and present. Of note was the Aviva Premiership debut of Argentina's first choice tighthead prop Juan Figallo (pictured to the right). Figallo's last test match was against the All Blacks in La Plata in 2012. He has now started two consecutive matches as he continues his return which could see him back in time for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and Wales. 

Northampton Saints 18-24 Exeter Chiefs
In one of two Friday matches the Exeter Chiefs utilized their squad to good effect as Northampton's large number of international players meant that the away side was significantly advantaged. Starting for the Saints was Samu Manoa whose only international rugby this month was against the All Blacks in Chicago. Without him, and others, the USA Eagles have faced Romania and Tonga and will take-on Fiji next weekend. 

Gloucester 15-22 Harlequins
An underwhelming home performance from Gloucester saw the West Country side fail to score a try in Friday evening's loss against the Harlequins. As a result Glouester has been overtaken but the Quins who are six points outside of the top four. Injured Puma Mariano Galarza is expected to debut for Gloucester next month. 

Bath 23-14 Newcastle Falcons
The salary cap has not resulted in Bath and Newcastle being of a comparative ability. To the contrary Bath is notably better with Newcastle being a club far harder to attract top English players. Involed for Newcastle were two Argentine players, both of whom started. Juan Pablo Socino played fly half, kicking one conversion while Gonzalo Tiesi played outside centre. Horacio Agulla did not play due to facing Italy in Genoa.

Sale Sharks 36-8 London Irish
With the teams having been tied prior to the match the four competition points put the Sale Sharks in seventh position compared to London Irish in tenth. Neither club has been playing particularly well this season but considering the ability, or lack there of, of London Welsh both will almost certainly remain in the Premiership next season. Missing for London Irish was Canadian Jebb Sinclair who was on international duty.

Wasps 71-7 London Welsh
Another poor showing from London Welsh sees last season's second division champions quickly remaining on their way to set an all time record for most points conceded in a season. London Welsh was missing Richard Thorpe who debuted for Canada v Samoa. The club was, otherwise, barely impacted by missing players to international duty. Starting was former Puma Pablo Henn.  

Leicester Tigers 21-21 Saracens
Two teams packed with English international players played in the closing match of round seven and they competed to a tryless draw. Owen Williams and Charlie Hodgson both landed seven penalties. Involved from the Americas were four players with Argentina and the USA both having two players starting the fixture. Blaine Scully played right wing for Leicester while Chris Wyles partnered Marcelo Bosch in the Saracens mid-field. Juan Figallo started at tighthead prop. Bosch will play for Argentina next Saturday against France in Paris.

1
Northampton Saints
26
2
Exeter Chiefs
24
3
Bath Rugby
24
4
Saracens
24
5
Wasps
20
6
Harlequins
18
7
Sale Sharks
16
8
Gloucester Rugby
16
9
Leicester Tigers
16
10
London Irish
12
11
Newcastle Falcons
9
12
London Welsh
1

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