Who’s hot… and who’s not!

Date published: September 1 2015

It's time for Planet Rugby's 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!

Justin Tipuric-inspired Wales: What an outstanding performance from the openside flanker. Named in place of captain Sam Warburton, who has a pinched nerve in his shoulder, Tipuric was named Man of the Match in his country's 16-10 victory over Ireland in Dublin on Saturday. A typical all-action performance from the Ospreys player as he scored the game's opening try and was everywhere around the field for an almost full-strength Wales side. On this kind of form, Warren Gatland's men are serious contenders to top the RWC 'Pool of Death'.

Scotland: What a difference a win makes. Back on home soil after coming away from Turin with a narrow victory last weekend, the Scots were excellent against the Azzurri at Murrayfield as they ran in six tries to win 48-7. Samoa and South Africa will have taken note ahead of next month's Rugby World Cup action, with their final warm-up game coming next week against France in Paris. We'll know more about them then.

Waisake Naholo: Of course there are different types of broken legs, but still, no one expected Naholo to recover in time for the World Cup when he suffered a fracture six weeks ago. A quick trip home and some traditional Fijian herbal remedies and he is back on his feet and in the All Blacks' World Cup squad.

Golden Lions and Blue Bulls: 20 points from four games for these two side, who are dominating the Currie Cup. You couldn't ask for more. 

Tasman: Three bonus-point wins from three start for the Makos, who are setting the pace in the ITM Cup after notching up a 41-21 victory over Manawatu on Thursday.

Clermont: A scorching start to the Top 14 for les Jaunards, who have an incredible points difference of 57 after just two games this season. Their 25-6 win over Grenoble won't go down as their finest performance, but the Vulcans faithful won't complain about the finla scoreline. 

Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Kane Thompson: One of Samoa's most experienced players is now likely to receive a suspension that will rule him out of part of the Rugby World Cup. Thompson was sent off for throwing a punch at Barbarians hooker Saia Fainga'a, who had been obstructing him, at the Olympic Stadium. Who throws a punch in a Baabaas game?

London's Olympic Park Stadium: Sprinklers in the middle of a match? Not what we expected from a Rugby World Cup hosts stadium.


Uruguay: They have lost ten of their last eleven matches with their most recent defeat seeing the South Americans go down 40-0 to Japan in Tokyo. There are now real concerns of how many points Wales, Australia and England will put on Uruguay in the RWC. It is going to get ugly.

Officials in Pukekohe: A clear tip-tackle from Hawke's Bay winger Zac Guildford on Counties Manukau replacement back Cardiff Vaega went unpunished on Friday. The assistant referee seemingly flagged for the poor tackle but it was in fact for a foot in touch from Steelers winger Sione Fifita. One would think a citing would be forthcoming this week for Magpies finisher Guildford as this video footage of the incident is pretty damning.

Stade Français scrum: No scrum, no win. Never has the old adage been more true than during Stade's loss at Brive. The French champions conceded a penalty at virtually every scrum in the game, lost one prop to a yellow card, and were comfortably beaten for the first time since their last trip to Brive. The World Cup can't end soon enough for the Parisians!

Pau's racist supporter: Saturday's game between Pau and Montpellier was marked by a disturbing incident as Fijian winger Timoci Nagusa was racially abused by a home supporter. Pau have already apologised to Nagusa and vowed to take action.

Toulon: It's understandable given all their World Cup absentees, but two straight defeats leaves Toulon the unenviable position of 12th in the Top 14. Next week they travel to Stade Français and another loss could see them drop into the relegation zone.

Western Province: The 2014 Currie Cup winners are not playing like champions at the moment. After taking a beating against the Blue Bulls in Round Three, John Dobson's troops were expected to bounce back against the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. It wasn't to be, and the men from Cape Town were on the wrong end of a 28-21 result.