Sunday, December 28, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Americas Players Review - Round 11

Photo Rugby Show
With round eleven complete the Aviva Premiership has reached the halfway point for the 2014-2015 season. The English competition is not as evenly contested as authorities would like. While London Welsh has been unable to compete all season there are two clubs well ahead of the others and these two are already appearing likely to host Semi Finals. The Americas was represented this weekend with international players from Argentina, Canada and the USA involved in starting roles. Neither North nor South America has been allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup but the Home Unions (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) have hosted three and a fourth will take place in 2015.    

London Irish 24-9 London Welsh
Round eleven got underway on Boxing Day with London Irish playing at home against London Welsh.  Both teams have struggled this season but the performances of London Welsh have been so poor that little has been said of London Irish only winning two of its opening ten matches. Friday's win sees London Irish well clear of London Welsh who are virtually guaranteed of relegation. Jebb Sinclair played the match at the back of the scrum for London Irish.

Bath 31-14 Exeter Chiefs
A bonus point win at home sees Bath staying in touch with the leading Northampton Saints. The first of Bath's four tries was scored by Puma Horacio Agulla who started on the right wing. Agulla was used at both wing and outside centre by Daniel Hourcade in 2014. His place in Argentina's World Cup squad remains unconfirmed as a specialist or utility player.

Sale Sharks 30-32 Leicester Tigers
The form of both Sale and Leicester this season has been different to that of 2013-2014. Leicester has been unable to win a number of close matches which explains the lowly position in which the club is sitting at the midway point of the Aviva Premiership season. Leicester's team was mainly reserves which explains why Marcos Ayerza was on the bench. The club's recent recruitment, USA Eagle Greg Peterson was also a replacement and made his premiership debut. Canadian Robert Barbieri was another replacement. He is capped by Italy. 

Newcastle Falcons 23-25 Saracens
A narrow home loss for the Newcastle Falcons would ordinarily be a subject of great frustration but with London Welsh playing so poorly and Newcastle securing a losing bonus point the team can be happy. Uncapped Argentine Juan Pablo Socino started at inside centre for Newcastle and Marcelo Bosch was outside centre for Saracens. Socino kicked three goals while USA Eagles Chris Wyles and Eric Fry both also played. With the win Saracens move into third.

Harlequins 25-30 Northampton Saints
A sold out Twickenham saw the Toulon bound American Samu Manoa show why he was in high demand. The ten time capped Californian scored a try and contributed to another in a man-of-the-match performance. Also involved was the USA born Alex Corbisiero who plays for England. With the win Northampton retains top position while the Harlequins are in the bottom half of the standings.

Gloucester 23-30 Wasps
The underwhelming season of Gloucester continued in round eleven as the former heavy weights of English rugby lost at home for the second time in a row. The club is now three wins outside of the play-offs zone and ahead of only Newcastle, London Irish and London Welsh. For the Wasps the win sees the team move closer to the top four and it was the team's first away win of the Aviva Premiership season. 

Northampton Saints
Exeter Chiefs
Leicester Tigers
Sale Sharks
London Irish
Newcastle Falcons
London Welsh

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