Who’s hot… and who’s not!

Date published: July 27 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 fire!

Wallabies: Credit where credit's due, Australia are two from two in the Rugby Championship and have home field advantage against the All Blacks in a fortnight. Victory over the Springboks was followed up by a bonus-point win in Argentina as their superior backline got the better of the Pumas. Depth is apparent in this Wallaby side but special mentions should go to the hard-working Scott Fardy and David Pocock for their efforts.

New Zealand: Like the Wallabies, the All Blacks have a 100 per cent record in this year's Rugby Championship. Our poll asking for the winner in Sydney is hugely in favour of New Zealand, who we expect to bring in Sonny Bill Williams for Ma'a Nonu, Dan Carter for Lima Sopoaga and Jerome Kaino for Liam Messam. Not bad is it? Special mentions go to Dane Coles, Richie McCaw, Sopoaga and, of course, Man of the Match Charles Piutau.

USA, Tonga and Samoa: The former two nations beat Japan and Canada respectively while Samoa fought back from 10-27 down to draw 30-30 with the Fijians in Sacramento. USA's victory over Japan was their first since 2003 while Tonga recovered from an early deficit to beat Canada in their first win of the competition as number eight Sonatane Takulua crossed for two tries. Back in Sacramento, Fiji's Leone Nakarawa also scored twice.

Gonzalo Camacho: It's been a tough couple of years for Camacho, who hadn't played a game since seriously injuring his shoulder back in September 2013. Three surgeries later, Camacho made his playing return against Australia on Saturday. While the result didn't go as he might have hoped, just getting back on the pitch was a victory in itself. It would be great to see him at the World Cup after all the difficulties he's been through.


Broken Thermostat:

South Africa: A great performance – for about an hour – but the wheels came off in the final ten minutes…again. The injuries didn't help, but for the second time in as many week's the Boks turned a winning situation into a loss by failing to maintain their intensity and concentration.


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Michael Hooper: We realise the innocent until proven guilty mindset but replays show Hooper clearly punching Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez in the game. Granted Sanchez held back the flanker but that is no excuse for Hooper's reaction as he punches the number ten. He has been cited.

Australia's goal-kickers: For the second week in a row, the Wallabies have been left wondering if their kickers are consistent enough to win a World Cup. Against the Springboks it was Quade Cooper off the mark but this week Foley was uncharacteristically off key. He landed five from nine but some of his successful kicks were ugly ones which was a surprise from the usually reliable Waratah. We advise, however, giving him another shot.

Fijian fitness: Fiji look to be in much better shape than they were four years ago when they were pool fodder at the World Cup. However after games against the Maori All Blacks and Samoa, fitness seems to be a real concern for John McKee's side. From 26-10 up they somehow lost to the Maori a fortnight ago, and it was a similar story against Samoa this weekend. Given that Wales and England are currently beasting their players to work on their fitness, that could be a major issue for Fiji come the World Cup.

EP Kings: While the exact reasons for Carlos Spencer's departure from the EP Kings are still being disputed by each side, it appears that a number of players and members of staff are currently waiting on unpaid wages. With the side set to return to Super Rugby next season as the Southern Kings this sort of financial uncertainty is a real concern.

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