Sunday, April 26, 2015

Aviva Premiership: Americas Exports - Round 20

Photo Sky Sports
With two rounds remaining in the Aviva Premiership regular season a number of teams are fighting it out to secure their places in the Semi Finals and to also qualify for the 2015-2016 European Rugby Champions Cup. Involved were a number of players from the Americas, the last World Rugby defined region to be allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. The region's most powerful nation in rugby terms, Argentina, is a proven leader with it's World Rugby representative Agustín Pichot currently establishing a Pan American Six Nations. Such a competition would significantly benefit Tier 3 and Tier 3 nations in the region. 

Bath 43-18 London Irish
West Country side Bath edged closer to a home Semi Final with a convincing win over London Irish to open the round on Friday evening. The five tries to two victory was without Puma Horacio Agulla who remains sidelined through injury. Canadian Jebb Sinclair started in the pack for London Irish. He is eyeing up a second Rugby World Cup appearance. The win for Bath combined with Saracens losing sees the club sitting four points clear and well placed heading into the play-offs. 

Northampton 25-20 Saracens
Heading into the fixture with only one win from the last five outings all the pressure was on Northampton to perform. The team had come off a weeks rest while Saracens had been competing in France against Clermont. Northampton's fitness advantage was assisted by the team playing at MK Stadium and doing so in front of 27,411 fans. The relocated fixture was to aid in preparation for England's hosting of the World Cup. The match itself was a reminder of the importance of the Americas to the global game. All three tries were scored by USA Eagles players with Chris Wyles scoring two and Samu Manoa one. Also starting was Marcelo Bosch who recently signed a new two-year deal with the London based club. 

Leicester Tigers 38-17 London Welsh
Strugglers London Welsh smelt an upset at half time on Saturday. The winless and already relegated side was leading the Tigers at half time. Leicester, though, fought back to overcome the Exiles and complete a bonus point victory. Leicester continue to be fighting it out with the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth Semi Final spot. The team did it's chances a favor by resting a number of regulars including Puma Marcos Ayerza this weekend. Starting was USA winger Blaine Scully. Canadian international Richard Thorpe was on the bench for London Welsh. 

Gloucester 42-40 Newcastle Falcons
A match with nothing on offer for either club saw Gloucester winning a thriller at home with a last minute try. Starting for both teams were Argentine players pushing for Rugby World Cup selection. Mariano Galarza (pictured above) started in Gloucester's second-row while Juan Pablo Socino played at inside centre for Newcastle. Also involved for Newcastle were props Juan Pablo Orlandi from Argentina and Eric Fry from the USA. The lead up to the game were marred by Gloucester facing points deduction by fielding Galarza prior to completing his registration. 

Wasps 34-29 Exeter Chiefs
A tight contest in Coventry on Sunday brought to a completion the 20th round of the Aviva Premiership. For both teams the match had plenty riding on it as places in Europe next season as well as possible Semi Finals in this season's Aviva Premiership were up for grabs. The result of Wasps v Exeter was vital from a Sale Sharks perspective as a win for the Wasps would all but see Sale eliminated from qualification. The result thus appears to have confirmed England's six teams in next year's European competition.

#
Team
Pts
1
Northampton
71
2
Bath
66
3
Saracens
62
4
Leicester
60
5
Exeter
59
6
Wasps
57
7
Sale Sharks
49
8
Harlequins
48
9
Gloucester
43
10
London Irish
37
11
Newcastle
28
12
London Welsh
01

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