Sunday, January 11, 2015

Aviva Premiership: Americas Players Review - Round 13

Photo De Rugby
Round 13 of the Aviva Premiership was completed this afternoon as two Sunday matches ended what was largely an unpredictable round of English rugby. Leaders Northampton and third placed Saracens both lost matches they were expected to have won as did the Leicester Tigers but further down London Welsh slipped further behind as both Newcastle and London Irish collected competition points. Involved this weekend were a number of players from the Americas, the only region that has not been allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. Argentina is interested in hosting Rugby World Cup 2023 and has a very strong argument to do so.  

Gloucester 24-23 Saracens
The round got under way in spectacular fashion as the struggling Gloucester completed a fairy-tale come from behind victory over heavy weights Saracens. The victory was secured in the final minute with former Welsh international James Hook being the hero. Playing at outside centre for Saracens was Puma Marcelo Bosch. Missing was Juan Figallo and USA Eagles players.

Sale Sharks 20-7 Northampton Saints
The unstoppable Northampton Saints were stopped and badly defeated by the Sale Sharks on Saturday. Missing was the enforcer, Samu Manoa with the American on leave due to the tragic death of his brother. Without him the team lacked the physical power that took it to the title last season and has seen it impress throughout the current season. The team will need him back for next Saturday's European Rugby Champions Cup away fixture against the Ospreys in Wales.

Bath 39-26 Wasps
West country side Bath edged closer to the top of the table with a five tries to four victory against the Wasps on Saturday. The gap between first and second has now narrowed to one competition point. Slightly further down the Wasps remain well placed but are in a battle with Saracens, Exeter and Leicester for third and fourth. 

Harlequins 32-12 Leicester Tigers
A sold out Stoop in London was treated to a strong showing by the home side. Such is the extent of the problems facing Leicester that rarely does any side defeat the Leicester Tigers by a margin of twenty points. The four tries to zero victory sees notable changes to the standings as the Harlequins have now charged up to 7th after having been far lower down. Starting for Leicester was Puma Marcos Ayerza. 

Newcastle Falcons 38-7 London Welsh
The Newcastle Falcons went further ahead of the bottom of the table London Welsh with a bonus point home victory on Sunday. With nine rounds still to play London Welsh can, in theory, avoid relegation. The chances though of this eventuating appear extremely unlikely. Starting today for Newcastle was uncapped Argentine inside back Juan Pablo Socino who played inside centre. Also involved was USA loosehead prop Eric Fry as a replacement. In addition former Puma Juan Pablo Orlandi made his debut for the Newcastle Falcons from the bench. He transferred to the club from Bath recently. On the bench for London Welsh was Canadia international Richard Thorpe.

London Irish 28-26 Exeter Chiefs
In the final match of the round London Irish completed arguably its best win of the season to claim five competition points which leaves London Welsh fives wins behind both Newcastle and London Irish. Neither Newcastle nor London Irish stand realistic chances of reaching the play-offs which underlines that the competition is not as competitive as it ought to be given it has a strict Salary Cap.

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

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