It is time for our weekly wrap up of who has their name in lights at the moment…and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons
It is time for our weekly wrap up of who has their name in lights at the moment…and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.
All Blacks: Showed once again why they are the world champions with an unbelievable display against the Springboks in Johannesburg. Despite a gallant effort from the Boks, the men in black made it look so easy as they clinched another Rugby Championship title.
Wallabies: Most enthusiasts wrote off Ewen McKenzie's charges ahead of their final Rugby Championship clash with the Pumas in Rosario. The men in gold, however, delivered a clinical performance, scoring seven tries as they beat their hosts, who had to be satisfied with the tournament's wooden spoon for the second successive year.
Montpellier: They are currently level on points with Toulon at the top of the Top 14 table and showed they mean business, as title contenders, with a superb display in their 45-20 victory over Oyonnax.
Ben Smith: This guy's been in this section of the column on several occasions since the start of the season. His form for New Zealand has been phenomenal and he set a new Tri-Nations/Rugby Championship try-scoring record by crossing the whitewash on eight occasions in six matches! Such form surely makes him a candidate for the IRB's Player of the Year award.
Yoann Huget: The Toulouse speedster appears to have found his form in time for his club's Heineken Cup campaign after scoring a hat-trick against arch-rivals Stade FranÃ§ais.
Wellington: Another scintilating performance from the Lions against Auckland means that coach Chris Boyd and his charges have now won nine out of nine games in the ITM Cup.
Springboks: Lost the war, yes, but their performance at Ellis Park showed they are more than capable of winning future battles against New Zealand. The Boks needed four tries in victory while also depriving the All Blacks of a losing or try bonus-point and give them credit, they came close to achieving what many thought was an impossible mission. Two-try Bryan Habana was superb and one wonders what might have happened had he not hobbled off in the first-half. It was an excellent performance from the number one and two ranked teams in the world. From that game, this pair are a long way ahead of the pack. We were of course tempted to add them to the top half of this list, but at the end of the day, losing at home – at your fortress – isn't hot.
Get these guys a cup of warm soup!
Argentina: How to shoot yourself in the foot 101: Push the opposition scrum over their try-line but forget to bring the ball along with one. That one moment summed up the Pumas performance. Convert a try early and level up the scores and Australia might have been made to sweat a little bit more. Instead it sucked away the momentum and the hosts were then thrashed.
Worcester: Things aren't looking great for the Warriors after five straight defeats in the Aviva Premiership. They have a break for European rugby this week but things don't get much easier for Dean Ryan's men as they go to Oyonnax in the Amlin Challenge Cup. This is the same side that beat Clermont, Castres and Toulon. Good luck Worcester.
Martin Landajo: No possible justification for repeatedly stamping on a guy's hand when he's trapped under a pile of bodies. Wayne Barnes was clearly feeling generous as the incident took place right in front of him. What's more, Landajo has only copped a one-week ban for the offence.
Bay of Plenty: Will be competing in the Championship next season after going down to Waikato at the weekend. That result means the Steamers have suffered eight defeats from nine games with their only victory registered way back on August 25 against Hawke's Bay..