Sunday, April 12, 2015

Aviva Premiership: Americas Exports - Round 19

Photo Saracens
The nineteenth of twenty-two rounds of England's Aviva Premiership came to a close this afternoon. With three rounds left to play the play-offs picture is relatively clear with Northampton, Bath and Saracens seemingly fighting for the right to host the Semi Finals while the Exeter Chiefs and Leicester Tigers battle it out for the remaining spot in the final four. A number of players from the Americas were involved again this weekend. The Americas has never been allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup but Argentina's World Rugby representative, Agustín Pichot wants his country to host in 2023. England will host for a third time later this year and Wales for a fourth. 

Newcastle Falcons 19-29 Bath
With the club in no danger of being relegated and having too few points to qualify for either the Aviva Premiership Semi Finals or the 2015-2016 European Rugby Champions Cup the fixture was, for Newcastle, a dead rubber. Bath, in contrast, had plenty to play for as the team remains well placed for a Semi Finals appearance. The visitors left town with five competition points to march towards the post season in style. Puma Horacio Agulla was missing but the uncapped Juan Pablo Socino started for Newcastle. Former Pumas Gonzalo Tiesi and Juan Pablo Orlandi were on the bench as was USA prop Eric Fry. 

Saracens 22-6 Leicester Tigers
A home win for the London based Saracens on Saturday saw the home side edge closer towards a certain Semi Finals appearance while Leicester slip behind. With three rounds remaining Leicester, on 55 points, is six behind both Bath and Saracens and is in direct competition for fourth position with Exeter. Involved for Leicester v Saracens was Marcos Ayerza who played loosehead prop. Fellow Puma Marcelo Bosch played outside centre for Saracens and scored a try. Also crossing was USA fullback Chris Wyles who played on the left wing. 

Harlequins 29-26 Gloucester
Also played on Saturday was a match between two underachievers this season in English rugby. Neither Harlequins nor Gloucester will be involved in the play-offs this season and of the two only the Harlequins stands a chance, albeit small, of qualifying for the 2015-2016 European Rugby Champions Cup. Featuring for Gloucester from the bench was Argentine second-rower Mariano Galarza who recently made his return from shoulder reconstruction surgery. 

Exeter Chiefs 21-10 Northampton Saints
Semi Final contenders the Exeter Chiefs opened Sunday in style by convincingly defeating premiership leaders the Northampton Saints. Since winning promotion from the second division the Exeter Chiefs have transformed into a permanent premiership side and a club with growing support. The club's home ground, Sandy Park is to play host to Rugby World Cup matches, a fact sure to further aid the sustainability of the team with west country supporters. Involved in the losing effort was USA star Samu Manoa who played in the second-row. Also from the USA was Alex Corbisiero who played prop. He is capped by England.

London Welsh 13-40 Wasps
Also taking place this afternoon was the latest loss for the winless London Welsh. With nineteen rounds now gone the club is yet to wn a match and has only been able to secure one bonus point all season. The club was also winless in the European Challenge Cup. In winning on the road the Wasps remain a chance of a Semi Final but will require not only more wins but for other results to go their way. Canadian international Richard Thorpe was on the bench for London Welsh. 

London Irish 25-23 Sale Sharks
A home win for London Irish completed the action on Sunday. With the club having only pride to play for the result will not have an impact on the team's Premiership or European qualification chances. In losing the Sale Sharks are now in seventh position and face an uphill battle to qualify for next season's European Rugby Champions Cup. Starting for London Irish was Canadian Jebb Sinclair. 

Exeter Chiefs
Sale Sharks
London Irish
London Welsh

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