Who’s hot… and who’s not!

Date published: September 26 2016

It’s time for Planet Rugby’s wrap of who has their name in lights at the moment… and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.

They’re on fire!!

Harlequins: A win almost out of nowhere for John Kingston’s men over the defending champions Saracens. Quins squeaked past Bristol on the opening day before defeats to Sale and Exeter, alarm bells were starting to ring… at least they were until Harlequins suddenly held a 17-0 lead at half-time against unbeaten Saracens. Great character to close out the kind of win that could kick-start their season.

Nemani Nadolo and Adam Ashley-Cooper: Hat-tricks for the former Super Rugby stars for their respective clubs in the latest round of Top 14 action. Nadolo was at his bruising best as Montpellier brushed off Brive on Sunday, while Ashley-Cooper added a treble of his own in UBB’s win over Lyon. They’ve still go it.

Ulster: PRO12 leaders after a highly impressive victory on the road against early pacesetters Glasgow Warriors. That’s now four wins out of four for Les Kiss and his squad this season, and they look very sharp indeed. No try bonus point, but three tries against Glasgow away from home is still some achievement.

Tom Taylor: Held his nerve to slot an 81st-minute penalty for Pau, in the process securing a dramatic 39-38 victory over strugglers Grenoble. Pau move up to 7th as a result thanks to their third win of the campaign.

Newcastle: History for the Falcons at Kingsholm! Saturday’s surprise 18-13 win was not just the first time Newcastle have won at Gloucester’s stronghold since 2012, but also their first away win at all since 2014!

Auckland: Some quality action in Auckland’s win over Bay of Plenty on Sunday, with Rieko Ioane running in a hat-trick to help his side to a high-scoring win.

Broken Thermostat

Worcester: Some scintilating stuff from the Warriors, with youngster Jamie Shillcock catching the eye over the last few weeks and grabbing a double against Sale. But letting a 31-17 lead slip to a 34-34 draw is a real confidence killer. A draw and a try bonus point doesn’t make Saturday a total points disaster points-wise, securing three. But they should have had five.

Cardiff Blues: Joint top of the PRO12 with Ulster, except what should have been a regulation win away from home to Zebre nearly turned into a disaster. Danny Wilson’s group in the end did enough to hold the Italian franchise off, but it was far from convincing. Good win, bad performance.

Cold as ice!

Connacht: Make that three losses out of three now for the defending PRO12 champions, with their unsuccessful trip to the Scarlets on Saturday being the latest setback to their title defence. It’s a rough run for Pat Lam’s side, sunk by a double from Liam Williams in west Wales, and they remain bottom of the table without a point to their name, and 17 behind co-leaders Ulster and Cardiff Blues.

Bristol: Another side bruised from four straight defeats, Bristol’s task of staying in the Premiership suddenly looks a lot more difficult than when they pressured Quins on the opening weekend. Promising in patches, including an excellent try by Jordan Williams against Exeter, their defence just couldn’t keep the Chiefs at bay.

Sergio Parisse’s red card: Watch the incident below and see if you agree with referee Alexandre Ruiz. Parisse certainly lifts Gillian Galan, but it’s his team-mate Jono Ross who drives Galan into the ground. Parisse sees red, and Stade play out the second half down to 14. For us, Parisse seeing red is harsh. Thoughts?