Sunday, January 4, 2015

Aviva Premiership: Americas Players Review - Round 12

Photo Sporting Life
Round 12 of the Aviva Premiership came to a close this afternoon following the completion of the third match of the day. With ten rounds remaining there is a lot to play for at both the top and bottom of the table as play-offs places, European qualification and staying in the Premiership are all on the line. Last season's champions, Northampton are in a commanding position at the top of the table while London Welsh are well off the pace and remain winless. In action in round 12 were players from North and South America. The Americas will have four teams at Rugby World Cup 2015 but is the only region never to have been allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. Argentina wants to host the World Cup in 2023.  

Northampton Saints 39-31 Newcastle Falcons
One of the best Friday night matches of the season took place at Franklin's Gardens to open the round. Competition leaders the Northampton Saints were given a surprisingly good match by strugglers the Newcastle Falcons who did not finish close enough to secure a losing bonus point but did get one by virtue of scoring four tries. Two USA players started the match with Samu Manoa playing back-row for Northampton and Eric Fry playing loosehead prop for Newcastle. Our thoughts are with Manoa who returned to the USA after the match due to a family tragedy. 

Saracens 22-6 London Irish
A home win by the London based Saracens over the Exiles on Saturday sees little in change for either side in the Aviva Premiership standings. Starting on the right wing for Saracens was veteran USA back Chris Wyles who was the only player from the Americas involved. Missing were all of Marcelo Bosch,  Juan Figallo, Jebb Sinclair and Hayden Smith.  

Exeter Chiefs 25-26 Gloucester
The teams of two Rugby World Cup 2015 cities met in what was the match of the round as the struggling Gloucester completed a rare away victory. The  game had been an ideal opportunity for the Exeter Chiefs to collect competition points to stay in the top four. Instead Gloucester was the benefactor as the club edges nearer the European qualifying position.

Leicester Tigers 17-8 Bath
The fifth placed Leicester Tigers hosted second placed Bath in the first of three Sunday matches and the home team completed a hard-fought win to claim four competition points. Post match Puma Marcos Ayerza was praised for having played 200 games for Leicester. He started at loosehead prop while international teammate Horacio Agulla started for Bath. USA winger Blaine Scully had been named  to start but did not play for Leicester. Italian international Robert Barbieri who is Canadian was on the bench. 

Wasps 41-16 Sale Sharks
With a crowd of 15,000 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry the Wasps ran-out impressive winners to move into the top four. The loss sees the Sale Sharks dropping to seventh position and has the Wasps, Exeter and Leicester between itself and the play-offs. With Northampton and Bath being the respective opposition of the teams next week a win for either side would be significant. 

London Welsh 13-24 Harlequins
London Welsh provided problems for the Harlequins in the final match of the round but were, nonetheless, not able to win or collect any competition points. The club sits fifteen points behind both Newcastle and London Irish and needs a miracle to avoid relegation.  

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

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