Who’s hot… and who’s not!

Date published: June 9 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!

David Pocock and Israel Folau: A hat-trick apiece for the Brumby and Waratah as they helped inspire their respective side to victories over the Force and Cheetahs. Pocock now has seven scores so far this season but what will please Australia most is the recent form of Folau, who finally recaptures his try-scoring form after something of a drought during 2015. It must be said though that the Cheetahs weren't the best defensively.

New Zealand's half-backs: Speaking of the try-scoring charts, TJ Perenara is now out on his own at the summit on a remarkable ten efforts so far in Super Rugby. His battle with Aaron Smith continues to intrigue ahead of the World Cup while Augustine Pulu of the Chiefs is in excellent form.

Brock James: With Clermont trailing with just nine minutes left against Toulouse and in danger of seeing their season end in disappointment once more, it was fly-half James who stepped up to steer them home. The Australian playmaker has taken his fair share of criticism for folding under pressure, but he nailed a crucial penalty before driving Toulouse back into their own territory and slotting a drop goal that made the game safe.

Stade Français: There are so many individuals who deserve a mention after Friday's victory, from number eight Sergio Parisse and his basketball behind-the-back pass, to flank Antoine Burban and his all-action performance, without forgetting a dominant front-row. Stade Français have waited six long years to get themselves back to the Top 14 play-offs, but they are making it count. On form they should go into the final as favourites.

Chris Masoe: On a difficult night for everyone involved, Masoe paid a fitting tribute to Jerry Collins, bleaching his hair blonde before putting in a fantastic showing, racking up more than 100 metres with ball in hand and tackling everything in sight. Not only that, he was always first on the scene when things started simmering, calming down his decidedly edgy teammates. It was an emotional day but that brought the best out of him.

Eben Etzebeth: What an effort from the all-action lock at Newlands. He was a carrying machine whilst putting in 14 tackles in a tasty game against the Lions, who had Jaco Kriel in strong form with ball in hand. The Stormers are now assured of top spot in the South African conference.

Someone fetch these guys a warm cuppa soup!

Whistling fans: Bakkies Botha will no doubt have taken some pleasure out of it, but it was still disappointing to hear him whistled off the field as he made way in what was to be his final-ever game. Love him or hate him, he's been a legend of the game and, as he put it, the real enforcer.

Danny Cipriani: The fly-half was reportedly arrested on suspicion of drink-driving at 5am on Monday, hours after starring for England with a 33-point showing in the thrashing of the Barbarians at Twickenham. This coming after Dylan Hartley's axing, it's not been a good week for England.

Wales U20: It's been an even worse week for the Welsh at the World Championship in Italy as they suffered a second straight defeat, following up the loss to France with a 30-16 negative to rivals England. That means their hopes of making the semi-finals are now gone ahead of facing Japan.

TMO in Melbourne: The Bulls can feel rightfully aggrieved after TMO Ian Smith got, what appeared to be a simple decision, wrong in their loss to the Rebels in Melbourne. Television replays showed, and even the Australian television commentators felt that Burger Odendaal got over for a deserved try but Smith ruled that there was "no conclusive evidence" that the ball was grounded. It's not the first time we've discussed incorrect TMO decisions and judging from the current trend it certainly won't be the last.

Rayno Benjamin: We get that the Cheetahs were having a rough time containing Folau, but Benjamin's attempted trip on the Wallaby as he went for his hat-trick was disgraceful and the exact kind of play that we hate to see. His yellow card was more than deserved.

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