Who’s hot… and who’s not!

Date published: November 2 2015

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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!

New Zealand: Back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles is something no team had managed… until 2015. This All Blacks side must surely go down in history as the greatest ever as a team led by Richie McCaw and Dan Carter deservedly beat Australia to the silverware at Twickenham on Saturday. The whole team's outstanding achievement was rightly capped off by them winning Team of the Year at Sunday's World Rugby Awards.

Dan Carter: His 19 points from his boot stole the show. What a way for the fly-half to say goodbye to Test rugby. He topped it all off by picking up the World Rugby Player of the Year award – his third win after 2005 and 2012. Find a quiet corner and just realise for a moment that we'll never see Carter in an All Blacks shirt again. It's a sad thought.

Rugby World Cup 2015: Despite the hosts going out in the pool stages, many have dubbed this Rugby World Cup as the best ever. Pundits were in agreement that from volunteers to fans to the quality of rugby, this was the best tournament to date and it's hard to argue. From Japan beating South Africa on the opening weekend – the biggest shock in the history of Webb Ellis rugby – to the respect shown between all the teams when the full-time whistle was blown, it was a special two months. We say roll on Japan hosting the next one in four years.

Zebre, Munster and Scarlets: Hats off to these three sides in the PRO12 after their respective wins. Zebre beat Cardiff Blues with a try bonus-point for a second straight win on Saturday while on Friday Munster crossed five times in their victory over Ulster. Scarlets meanwhile celebrated Wayne Pivac signing a new contract with their sixth successive win in the competition, against the Dragons. James Davies continues to impress for them with another excellent performance that surely won't have gone unnoticed ahead of the 2016 Six Nations.

Sonny Bill Williams: What a gesture from the All Black centre as he gave his winner's medal to a young fan who ran onto the field during the lap of honour to congratulate his hero. Instead of being swiftly escorted off, the 14-year-old first received Liam Messam's beanie hat before Williams walked him to his family before handing him his medal. A lucky, lucky boy.

Kurtley Beale: Possibly his best performance in gold. Called to go on when Matt Giteau was forced from the field in the first-half, Beale let no one down with an all-action display at Twickenham. He made 86 metres but it felt like a lot more as Beale covered so much ground in attack and defence. One thing is certain and that is this Wallaby can be proud of his effort.


Brrrr…. someone get these guys a warm cup of soup!

David Pocock: Many will argue that Pocock should have been named Player of the Year – but in the hoopla of New Zealand's World Cup success this incident with Pocock appearing to stamp on Richie McCaw was lost. The 36-hour citing window has now closed, but the footage is pretty damning.

Bronze final match: Short and sweet – it's a nice idea that doesn't work. Friday's game at the Olympic Stadium was well-attended but the atmosphere felt completely flat. It's time to review whether the World Cup actually needs this fixture that very few care about. Friday's game only had one real storyline involving…

Bryan Habana: …attempting to break the record for the most tries ever in the Rugby World Cup, and he blew it. South Africa's most capped winger has had a glittering career, but he'll want to forget his last two Tests. Habana had two or three big chances to move ahead of Jonah Lomu onto 16 tries in World Cup history but couldn't execute, at the same ground where he blundered his effort for a fourth try against the USA, before coming off with cramp on 65 minutes. He insisted that the record wasn't in the back of his mind, but the evidence suggests otherwise. He'll be 36 in 2019, making it unlikely Habana will get another shot. Although maybe it's fitting that Jonah Lomu keeps the one hand on the record until Julian Savea goes berserk in four years' time.

Newcastle and London Irish: After three rounds of action in the Aviva Premiership, these teams are languishing at the bottom of the table with no points collected yet. At the weekend, Irish put up a brave fight against the champions, Saracens, before losing 24-14 away from home and Falcons found the going tough in their own backyard and were thrashed 41-3 by Exeter Chiefs, who secured their try-scoring bonus point in the first half already.

Cardiff Blues: Head coach Danny Wilson is feeling the heat as the Blues' 26-15 away loss to Zebre is their fifth successive defeat from six matches in the PRO12 this season. That result leaves the men from the Welsh capital third from bottom in the standings with eight points four above bottom-placed Treviso.

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