Sunday, March 29, 2015

Aviva Premiership: Americas Exports - Round 18

Photo This is American Rugby
Competition for places in the final four of the English championship, the Aviva Premiership, appear to be clearing up. With four rounds remaining there are five teams fighting it out for places in the Semi Finals. Mathematically there are others in the race but based on performances to date and the quality of different team rosters the Semi Finalists will be four of Bath, Exeter, Leicester, Northampton and Saracens. The Americas is therefore likely to have a number of players in the Semi Finals and Final. This weekend there were players from Argentina, Canada and the USA playing for English premiership clubs. The continental region is unique in never having been allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. Argentina looms as the ideal country to host the global event in 2023 and is interested in doing so.   

Northampton Saints 52-30 Wasps
The opening match of the round took place on Friday and saw Northampton marching on towards a home Semi Final. The bonus point home win sees the club maintaining a ten point lead in the standings. The Wasps, as they stand, are now six points outside of the Semi Finals. Involved in the match was USA utility forward Samu Manoa who played at the back of the scrum. His Saints and Eagles teammate Cam Dolan was playing in Hong Kong this weekend. USA born Alex Corbisiero played at loosehead prop and scored a try. 

Saracens 42-14 Harlequins
With a world record crowd of 84,048 in attendance Saracens completed a comprehensive victory at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. The fixture underlined the importance of the Americas to the global game as the winner of the man of the match award was USA fullback Chris Wyles (pictured above). The American scored two tries while playing inside centre and was joined in the mid-field by Argentine Marcelo Bosch. Both players were highly impressive with Bosch involved in creating multiple tries. Former Puma Juan Figallo was forced out of the match after having been named to start at prop. 

Leicester Tigers 25-18 Exeter Chiefs
The Leicester Tigers edged closer to a place in the final four with a tight home win over the Exeter Chiefs on Saturday. The results sees Leicester overtaking Exeter and with it a place in the Semi Finals is now highly likely. Starting at loosehead prop was veteran Puma and Tiger Marcos Ayerza. Leicester had released Gonzalo Camacho to play for Coventry this weekend but he pulled out due to fitness concerns. 

London Irish 22-21 Newcastle Falcons
Had it not been for the sorry state of London Welsh the match on Saturday between London Irish and the Newcastle Falcons would have been a must win match for both teams. Instead it was a match with pride on the line but no bonus otherwise for winning. On the bench for London Irish was Canadian Jebb Sinclair while former Puma Gonzalo Tiesi started for Newcastle. On the bench for Newcastle were two others from Argentina - Juan Pablo Socino and Juan Pablo Orlandi. 

Sale Sharks 23-6 Gloucester
An important home win by the Sale Sharks keeps the team's chances alive of a place in the play-offs.  Puma Mariano Galarza made his return to playing rugby for the first time since October. The Argentine second-rower debuted for Gloucester from the bench. He now faces a test for regular game time to be retained by Daniel Hourcade in 2015. 

London Welsh 14-29 Bath
In the final match of the round London Welsh's inability to win a match continued and the club has now officially been relegated to the second division. Winless in both the Aviva Premiership and European Rugby Challenge the Exiles club is comfortably the least competitive team in the history of English professional rugby. Involved in the win was the returning Horacio Agulla. The Puma was a replacement. On the bench for London Welsh was Canadian international Richard Thorpe.
 
#
Team
Pts
1
Northampton
67
2
Saracens
57
3
Bath
56
4
Leicester
55
5
Exeter
54
6
Wasps
48
7
Sale Sharks
47
8
Harlequins
39
9
Gloucester
37
10
London Irish
33
11
Newcastle
26
12
London Welsh
01

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