Who’s hot… and who’s not!

Date published: October 6 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!!

David Pocock and Bernard Foley's Wallabies: Australia are many pundits' new favourites for the Rugby World Cup title after their scintillating display at Twickenham as they knocked out the hosts and moved to the top of the 'Pool of Death'. Pocock was the star of the show, ruling at the breakdown in tandem with Michael Hooper while Foley put on arguably his best performance of the year.

Japan: It's official: Beating the Springboks was not a flash-in-the-pan result. A dominant victory over Samoa has confirmed the Brave Blossoms as a rising force in the world game. They need Samoa to do them a favour and beat Scotland to keep their dream of reaching the quarter-finals alive, but Eddie Jones' team have become the fairytale story of RWC 2015.

Argentina: Looking good on Sunday as they thrashed Tonga 45-18 to book their spot in the quarter-finals, with a performance that will send a message to every side that they will be tough to handle in the knockout stages. Nicolás Sánchez was the star of the show, cheered on by a exceptional happy Diego Maradona in Leicester.

Lood de Jager: Victor who? The Springboks' young locks were awesome in Newcastle as De Jager and Eben Etzebeth lead the charge in pummeling Scotland into submission. It's hard to see how Heyneke Meyer could justify starting with Victor Matfield in the quarter-finals after De Jager's barnstorming display. The Cheetahs lock crossed the gain line with every carry – 13 of them – topped the tackle stats and ruled the lineouts. He brings so much energy, he must start.

Telusa Veainu: Going back to last Tuesday, Veainu was on fire for Tonga against Namibia when he scored two special tries. Had less room to work with against Argentina, but the former New Zealand U20 flyer has caught the eye.

Sergio Parisse: Even though he was playing on one leg, the Italian skipper's presence alone was enough to transform the Azzurri from the rabble that nearly lost to Canada into a side that almost upset the best team in the northern hemisphere. At the post-match press conference he looked gutted to have lost.

Golden Lions: Impressive stuff from Johan Ackermann's side yet again after they thrashed Western Province 62-32 on Friday, staying unbeaten in this year's Currie Cup after running nine tries past the defending champions.

Isa Nacewa: Out of retirement and getting things done at Leinster. The recent Auckland Blues coach scored two tries on Saturday as Leinster saw off Newport Gwent Dragons in the PRO12 by a score of 37-13.

Broken Thermostat

Ireland: Sunday was Ireland's first real test of the World Cup and Italy made them sweat, in a fractious, physical tussle at the Olympic Stadium that was never truly comfortable for Irish viewers. They're through to the quarter-finals, but with top spot on the line against France they will have to step things up. Joe Schmidt's relief afterwards said it all.

All Blacks: Unbeaten, the defending world champions are marching to the top of Pool C, as we all expected. But the number of unforced errors they made against Georgia will be a real concern for Steve Hansen and his staff. Dan Carter was way off his best form and his team generally looked disjointed.

Brrrrr… someone get these guys a warm cup of soup!

Stuart Lancaster: England have not won a trophy during the Lancaster era and now have the ignominious record of being the worst team to host a Rugby World Cup. The reasons for their failure are many and varied but the buck stops with the head coach. Will the RFU axe him? Or will he fall on his sword? In a results-based industry, the prospect of him keeping his job seems unlikely.

Stuart Hogg: We do not dive in rugby. Kudos to Nigel Owens for making that crystal clear to the Scottish full-back at home of Newcastle United. "Dive like that again, come back here in two weeks and play, not today."


Voters for #ENGvAUS MOTM: Hang your head in shame if you where one of the twits that voted Joe Launchbury as the official Man of the Match at Twickenham on Saturday. Twitter madness strikes again.

Jacques Brunel: With Italy's exit from the World Cup after losing to Ireland the end is nigh for Brunel, who confirmed he would be stepping down before the tournament, although there is still time for one more game against Romania. Prior to that, Brunel's dreadful record shows only 10 wins from 44 Tests in charge of the Azzurri at a win rate of 22.7 per cent. It's certainly time for someone new, even after Sunday's spirited performance.

Danny Cipriani: He didn't make England's squad but Cipriani nevertheless made sure he stayed in the headlines with his 'expert' opinion last week, claiming that "not one Australian would get into that England team right now." Oh dear…