Sunday, May 31, 2015

Aviva Premiership: Americas Exports - Final

Saracens are the 2015 Aviva Premiership Champions. The London based club won the English Championship Final on Saturday afternoon by defeating West Country club Bath in convincing fashion.  Having held a 25-3 half time lead Saracens win in the end by 28-16. It sees the club winning in a second title in five years after Saracens also won the Aviva Premiership Final in the months ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015. Both clubs contesting the final have players from the Americas in their rosters and these players are likely to be involved in this year's Rugby World Cup. 

The three tries to one victory featured a first half try from USA Eagles fullback Chris Wyles. The North American also started the 2011 winning final and did so playing outside centre. Despite his versatility for club his position for his country remains at fullback where he has played throughout his career. 

In addition to Wyles Saracens also have Eagles players Hayden Smith and Thretton Palamo on their player roster. Both are also virtually assured of their places in the North American's Rugby World Cup squad. Questions,  however, remain as to whether or not Puma Juan Figallo will make the Argentine squad. Having been the world's premier tighthead from from 2011-2013 he was injured playing against the All Blacks in September 2013 and has not played another test since.

In place of Figallo Juan Pablo Orlandi, Maximilano Bustos, Matías Díaz, Ramiro Herrera and Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro have all been used. Of them the later three were given game time in 2014 with Herrera and Tetaz Chaparro both enhancing their reputations in the process. They are favorites for places in the World Cup squad as tighthead props with Marcos Ayerza and Lucas Noguera Paz being in line for loosehead selection. The fifth prop place is therefore up for grabs with Figallo being a strong candidate. 

In yesterday's Premiership Final Figallo Figallo was a 49th minute replacement. His Pumas colleagues Marcelo Bosch (Saracens) and Horacio Agulla (Bath) were both absent in the final. Bosch has been Argentina's leading outside centre throughout the years since 2011 while Agulla has been moved from wing to the position and has been more effective as a result. 

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