It is time for our weekly wrap up of who has their name in lights at the moment…and who's making the headlines for the wrong reasons.
It is time for our weekly wrap 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!
Bath: Talk about throwing down a marker. Against their biggest rival in the game, Bath were red hot against Leicester at the Recreation Ground as they tore the Tigers to pieces, running in five tries that took them to the top of the Aviva Premiership standings. On this kind of form, Mike Ford's men are serious contenders for the domestic crown as his son George continues to pull the strings.
Exeter: There is a lot to like about the Chiefs both on and off the field and it was clear a few years ago that they are going places. Victory at Kingsholm against Gloucester was another tick in the column for Rob Baxter as they picked up their second win of the season, with Thomas Waldrom's arrival being a great bit of business. Henry Slade and Sam Hill were both superb in midfield as their future looks bright.
Connacht: Hands held up, we did not expect this from Connacht. Who did? Three wins out of three is an outstanding achievement from the Sportsground outfit as they had beaten the Dragons and Edinburgh before stunning Leinster on Friday. They did it after falling 0-9 behind too, with a Kieran Marmion try and Jack Carty's boot moving them one point ahead before they held on for 25 minutes. This week they go to Glasgow for another tough game…
Glasgow and Ospreys: Speaking of the Warriors, that showdown at Scotstoun this Friday will see two of the three teams who have a 100 per cent record clash. Glasgow made it three Guinness PRO12 wins on Saturday with another impressive performance, this time beating the Dragons 33-13 at Rodney Parade as Alex Dunbar, Josh Strauss, Tommy Seymour and a late Tim Swinson try saw them pick up the maximum. They are looking so impressive right now. Meanwhile, the Ospreys went top of the standings on Sunday with their third straight win as they hammered Treviso 62-13 in Swansea in another impressive performance.
Sikhumbuzo Notshe: The back-row made his run-on debut for Western Province in their win over Griquas as a replacement for the injured Siya Kolisi, but the Springbok was hardly missed as Notshe delivered a superb all-round performance. The 21-year-old did his bit on defence, made a nuisance of himself at the breakdowns and was rewarded with two tries for his efforts. WP meanwhile make it six wins from seven as their impressive season continues.
Canterbury: It looks like the Christchurch-based outfit are well on course to capturing their seventh successive ITM Cup title as they are yet to lose after six matches this season. Counties Manukau came closer than any other side this campaign to upsetting the applecart, but they too had to be satisfied with a narrow defeat against Scott Robertson's charges.
Mourad Boudjellal: Yip, Toulon's outspoken owner is at it again, threatening to tear up contracts while signing more foreign stars. Obviously, Boudjellal has no right to threaten to withhold the pay cheques of players away on international duty. He knew the rules before he signed stars that would be called up to the Springboks and Pumas during the Top 14 season. But he makes a valid point about the legality, and the fairness, of the International Rugby Board's Test windows. Bryan Habana and company didn't play for their respective country over the weekend yet they were not available for Toulon. Why, as Boudjellal asks, should a club foot the bill for the (large) salaries of employees who are not at work?
GET THESE GUYS A CUP OF WARM SOUP!
Brive: Peet Marais's red card against Toulon on Friday brought their total of cards this season to twelve in just six games. When you have scored fewer tries (seven) than the amount of cards you've managed to obtain, something is very wrong at a club.
Leicester Tigers: David Flatman said on ITV Sport that it was the worst Leicester Tigers performance he had ever seen. Few would argue with that point as the Tigers were batted about the Recreation Ground by an outstanding Bath unit. While Leicester did suffer a pre-game blow in losing both centres, Manu Tuilagi and Anthony Allen, there was still plenty of international class on the field. Richard Cockerill was clearly stunned by the five-try 45-0 defeat and London Irish can expect something of a backlash at Welford Road this week.
Blue Bulls: Things are not going to plan at Loftus Versfeld after Saturday's loss to the Sharks left the Bulls languishing sixteen points behind traditional rivals Western Province in the Currie Cup standings. Not good enough for one of South Africa's richest unions.
Toulouse: Until last week, Toulouse had never lost three consecutive games in the Guy NovÃ¨s era yet Saturday's defeat to Racing means they've now lost four in a row as they continue to be in what seems a slow decline . The trouble lies up front where the Rouge et Noir pack is being bullied, especially in the set-piece. Next week's trip to Bayonne is huge.
Aaron Cruden: You wouldn't wish that Sunday morning on your worst enemy. It sounds like Cruden must have woken up from a few