Who’s hot…and who’s not!

Date published: June 2 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!

Glasgow Warriors: What a way to claim your maiden Pro12 title! Having fallen short at the final hurdle last season, Glasgow blew Munster away with a stunning all-round display. Leone Nakarawa was the star of the show as Munster failed to cope with his offloading game.

Saracens: A week after beating Northampton at Franklin's Gardens, Saracens did the business again as they calmly shut down Bath's attacking game to reclaim the Premiership crown. Having lost both the Premiership and Champions Cup finals last year, this was a tremendous response from Sarries.

Highlanders: With the Hurricanes success, the Highlanders have flown under the radar this season, but people will have to sit up and take notice after they blitzed the Chiefs to secure a play-off spot and stay in the hunt for top spot. Let's just hope they can cope without their All Blacks, who are being rested next week. Special mention for Waisaka Naholo for yet another sensational try.

Guy Novès: Europe's most successful club coach will now have a crack at the Test scene having been named France's next head coach. The timing is hardly ideal and the Toulouse icon's relationship with the FFR has been a rocky one in the past, but he was always going to be the leading candidate once he decided to make the jump. 

Dan Carter and Morne Steyn: It's been a difficult season for these two world-class pivots but they enjoyed great weeekends. Carter was back in the 10 jersey for the Crusaders, and had a cracking display as they kept their play-off hopes alive. Meanwhile Steyn seems like a new player at Stade Français and kicked 28 points in their play-off win over Racing-Métro.

Ruan Combrinck and Damian De Allende: Two star performers for the Lions and the Stormers respectively had stunning weekends as the race for top spot in the South African conference heats up. Combrinck scored two and made one against the Waratahs, while De Allende was back to his best against the Cheetahs.

Danny Cipriani: The Sale pivot made his case to be included in England's World Cup squad with a superb display in his side's thrashing of the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday. Cipriani's faultless goalkicking display – in which he converted all 11 of his shots at goal – deserves a special word of praise.

Pierre Bernard: A week after he kicked two out of six which cost Bordeaux-Bègles a place in the Top 14 play-offs, Bernard came up big in the Champions Cup play-off against Gloucester with a last-gasp drop goal! Chapeau!

Jamie George: It's been quite a week for George! A try-scorer and standout player in the Premiership final and a call-up for England's World Cup squad. Tom Youngs might be England's first choice hooker, but there is a spot open as his back-up, don't bet against George getting it.


Broken Thermostat

Oyonnax: The smallest club in the Top 14 pushed Toulouse all the way in their barrage before going down by a single point. It was a brilliant display founded on a powerful scrum and a strong carrying game. The concern is that next season they will lose head coach Christophe Urios as well key players Antoine Tichit and Benjamin Urdapilleta.

Owen Farrell: Man of the match in the Premiership final but all the talk after the game was of his high tackle on Anthony Watson in the second minute of the game. Watson had to leave the field, but Farrell will not face any further sanction after receiving a citing commissioner warning.


Someone fetch these guys a warm cuppa soup!

Jack McGrath and Yoann Huget: The Ireland prop McGrath and Toulouse wing can count themselves very lucky after avoiding bans for foul play in the last week. McGrath dropped his knee onto the back of a prone Konstantin Mikautadze (see the video here), somehow avoiding a citing for an offence that saw Pascal Papé banned for ten weeks. Meanwhile Huget seems to have got off scott-free for a stamp on Jandre Marais that surely needed punishing. The respective citing commissioners have some explaining to do. 

Cheetahs: It was a dismal defensive effort in Cape Town in coach Naka Drotske's final game in charge. The Cheetahs are falling apart at the moment and Franco Smith has a huge challenge on his hands to turn it around.

@GuinnessIreland: Twitter blooper of the year? We're not sure if it was a moment of patriotic fervour at the prospect of an Irish team winning the Pro12 Final or if Guinness's Twitter guy was sampling some of their fine product, but we had a good chuckle at this premature celebration. 

Ma'a Nonu: Nonu has been one of the form players in Super Rugby this season, but he had a shocker on Friday against the Crusaders. Disinterested for much of the game, his shoulder charge on Nemani Nadolo was very poor for a player of his calibre.

Racing-Métro: Another season has ended in failure for Racing, who say goodbye to the likes of Jonathan Sexton and Jamie Roberts. Given the huge money involved in bringing them in, Jacky Lorenzetti certainly didn't get his money's worth. Will that change with Dan Carter coming in next season?

Laurie Weeks: The Rebels prop's reaction to Jannie du Plessis' slap against his head saw him landing a flurry of punches to the face of the shocked Bok front row. Weeks was rightfully red carded for his indiscretion. That moment of madness probably cost the Rebels the game as they played with 14 men for 50 minutes and eventually suffered a narrow 25-21 loss.

Barbarians: They might have beaten Ireland during the week, but the Barbarians' effort at Twickenham on Sunday was embarrassing. It's hard to know just how good England's young side was, against a Baabaas team that decided tackling was optional and didn't even offer anything in attack.

Dylan Hartley: So confirmation this week that there will no World Cup for Hartley, two years after suffering the same fate for the Lions. Hartley has now been suspended for two World Cups and one Lions tour, and according to Stuart Lancaster he might be finished on the Test scene.

Tip-tackling 'Tahs: Another week and another ban for a Waratahs player, this time Rob Horne. While the Tahs probably need to work on their tackling technique, we also have to question how his tackle on Lionel Mapoe was initially considered worth a six-week ban before being reduced for a clean record. The yellow card he got during the game looked to be the correct punishment.

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