Who’s hot… and who’s not!

Date published: March 31 2015

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It is time for our weekly round up of who has their name in lights at the moment…and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.

They're on fireeeeeeee!

Fiji: They came into the Hong Kong Sevens as favourites and lived up to that status as they cruised to victory, finishing with an emphatic 33-19 win over the defending champions New Zealand. South Africa are still leading the world standings by two points, but at the moment Fiji are very much the team to beat.

Hurricanes: Six from six in Super Rugby after the Rebels became their latest victims in Wellington. The 36-12 scoreline might have flattered the Canes a little, but they are looking more and more like title contenders. And this weekend they won despite resting the likes of Beauden Barrett and Julian Savea!

Lions: Three wins out of four on tour, the Lions are finally turning promising results at Currie Cup level into Super Rugby success. In Warren Whiteley, Warwick Tecklenburg and Derick Minnie they have an extremely dynamic back row, and not only are they winning, but they are also fun to watch. Now they need to start winning in Johannesburg.

Toulouse, Castres and La Rochelle: Under-pressure Toulouse came from 18-0 down to beat Toulon 34-24 in a cracking match at the Vélodrome in Marseille, meanwhile Castres and La Rochelle both won away from home for the first time this season, at Grenoble and Bordeaux-Bègles respectively. The former have given themselves every chance of survival with that win, while the latter are all but safe with a run of five unbeaten games in the Top 14.

Saracens: A world record crowd for a club game piled into Wembley and Saracens didn't disappoint. The 84,068 spectators were treated to an ominous display from last season's Premiership finalists, as Sarries crushed Quins 42-14. With the exception of Northampton, the top of the Premiership is extremely tight, but at the moment, Saracens look like Saints' most likely challengers.

François Trinh-Duc: After five months out with a broken leg, Trinh-Duc could have been forgiven for wanting to ease into his first start with Montpellier. The 28-year-old was having none of it though with two sublime dummies in the first ten minutes to score one try and create another against Lyon. With France's fly-half position far from settled, Trinh-Duc did his World Cup chances a world of good on Saturday.


Banished to the igloo

Nick Williams: It looks like justice will be done after Williams was cited for his forearm smash on Rhys Patchell in Ulster's win over Cardiff Blues on Friday night, but we have to wonder how the number eight avoided a red card at the time. His cheap shot has been rightly condemned and it would be a surprise to see him back in action any time soon.

Ricky Januarie and Gareth Davies: A scrum-half being sent off two minutes after coming on doesn't happen very often, and yet on Saturday we saw two nines suffer the same fate hours apart. Januarie's decision to stamp on the knee of Charles Géli in ruck saw him given his marching orders in the Top 14, while Davies also lasted just two minutes before headbutting Andries Strauss in the Scarlets' home loss to Edinburgh.

Blues: Another week, another defeat. In fairness to Sir John Kirwan's side, they pushed the Waratahs hard, and the 23-11 scoreline doesn't do justice to how close the game really was. Still, that's six losses from as many games to start the season and while the former All Black winger thinks the Blues can still reach the play-offs if they beat the Chiefs next week, we're very sceptical.

London Welsh: It's finally over, mathematically at least. While it's been obvious virtually since the start of the season that the Exiles' stay in the Premiership would last just one season, it was confirmed on Sunday with a 29-14 loss to Bath. All that remains to be seen is whether they can avoid losing every game this season but it's hard to see where a win might come.

Nathan Hughes: We're not convinced that a red card was the right decision for Hughes after he clumsily connected with George North in Wasps' loss to Northampton on Friday night leaving the Welsh winger facing an extended stay on the sidelines because of concussion issues. Still, Hughes was never going to stop North and should have been more careful as his knee collided with the Welshman's head.

Leinster: A draw at home to Pro12 leaders Glasgow isn't a disastrous result in its own right, but Leinster have now won just one of their last five in the league, and that came against Zebre. With four games to go, they are now four points off the top four, and while they could yet make the play-offs, it will require a quick turnaround in their form. First, of course, they have a Champions Cup quarter-final to prepare for against Bath this weekend.

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