Who’s hot… and who’s not!

Date published: June 16 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!

Stade Français: A first title in eight years for Stade, who showed their pragmatic side to beat Clermont 12-6 at the Stade de France. While they weren't as flamboyant as we know they can be, they have now beaten Racing-Métro, Toulon and Clermont on their way to the title. Congratulations to Gonzalo Quesada and his team.

Nemani Nadolo: Dan Carter and Richie McCaw might have stolen the headlines in their farewell game for the Crusaders, but Nadolo was without doubt the game's best player. He's a force of nature who threw the Brumbies around like rag dolls every time he got the ball. Now he has a few months to get ready for the World Cup. Fiji might be rank outsiders in Pool A but Nadolo will cause everyone problems.

Hurricanes: What more is there to say about the 'Canes, who capped off their season with a win away to the Chiefs. They finished 13 points clear of anyone else in the league, had the best attack, the second best defence, and were undoubtedly the most exciting team to watch. Winning the whole thing won't be easy, but based on what they've shown this year, the Hurricanes would be worthy champions.

Richie McCaw: We mentioned him earlier but it's worth underlining what McCaw has done at the Crusaders. Most notably, the win over the Brumbies was his 100th in Super Rugby, an incredible record for the All Black skipper who now has 100 wins at both Test and Super Rugby level.

Argentina's Super Rugby team: Three more signings this week with the returns from France of props Ramiro Herrera and Santiago Garcia Botta, as well as lock Tomas Lavanini. It would be dangerous to raise expectations too high but with many of the Pumas' top prospects heading back home, they could be more competitive than initially expected in Super Rugby and at scrum-time they will cause havoc.


Brrr….. someone get these guys a warmmmm cuppa soup.

Super Rugby conference system: The Crusaders finished the season on 46 points and seventh in the table, missing out on the post-season. Meanwhile the Stormers ended the year with 45 points and finished third, earning not only a place in the finals series, but also a home qualifier against the Brumbies. While it's good for all three countries to have an interest in the play-offs, surely the Crusaders were more deserving, especially given they had to play each of the Hurricanes, Chiefs and Highlanders twice.

Reds: It was a fitting way to end what has been a dreadful campaign, as the Reds were thumped in Sydney by the Waratahs. The first half of this game was atrocious from both sides, with the Tahs leading 3-0, but the hosts were able to raise their level a touch in the second half. The same can't be said of the Reds, and despite Quade Cooper's late try, it was another embarrassing performance from Richard Graham's men.

Bulls: Victor Matfield bowed out last week, but Pierre Spies was one of a number of Bulls hoping to finish with a flourish at Loftus Versfeld before moving on. A home game against a Cheetahs side with nothing left to play for seemed like the perfect opportunity to end on a high but instead the Bulls were hammered in Pretoria. For a team that had title aspirations heading into the season, ninth place is nowhere near good enough. Judging by Frans Ludeke's decision to step down after the game, the men in charge at the Bulls agreed.

Clermont: A second final lost this season, and Clermont's unwanted 'losers' tag is in no danger of disappearing. Against Stade they were too indisciplined, and despite looking stronger in the closing stages they couldn't find their way over the line. Two missed kicks from Morgan Parra and one from Brock James didn't help but it's fair to say they were not at their best. In fairness they were missing a number of key players in their backline, but it was a familiar story for les Jaunards.

South African Super Rugby teams: 2015 was a season to forget for South Africa as only the Stormers managed to reach Super Rugby's finals series. With the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Cheetahs all finishing in the bottom half of the table it's difficult to fathom how a sixth team from the Republic (the Kings) deserve a place in the tournament in 2016.

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