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!
Ireland: Six Nations champions after four wins from five – their only defeat coming away to England – saw Ireland receive a hero's welcome home to Dublin after what was surely a decent few days celebrating. Led by Paul O'Connell, Jamie Heaslip and Brian O'Driscoll, Ireland dominated Scotland, Wales and Italy before edging France when the pressure was truly on last weekend. Congratulations to Joe Schmidt and his charges on their triumph.
Hurricanes: The men from Wellington ended their three-match losing streak in style by scoring nine tries in their triumph at home against the Cheetahs. The victory takes Mark Hammett's charges off the foot of the table and was a fitting reward for their captain, All Blacks centre Conrad Smith, who was playing and scored in his 100th match for the 'Canes.
Israel Folau: The Waratahs might have suffered their first loss of the season, when they went down to the Brumbies in Canberra, but the code-hopper's stocks continue to rise. Folau scored his sixth try in three matches for the Sydneysiders which consolidates his position at the top of Super Rugby's try-scoring charts for 2014.
The Honey Badger: The man is hilarious. No words, just enjoy. Nick Cummins in full flow.
Exeter Chiefs: Congratulations to the Chiefs after winning their first silverware in 143 years on Sunday. They managed it by beating Northampton Saints 15-8 in the LV= Cup Final at Sandy Park, with hard work over recent terms finally being rewarded in the shape of silverware. Rob Baxter and his coaching staff have done a marvelous job and with an impressive fanbase, the future is bright at the Chiefs.
Georgia: Georgia overcame Romania 22-9 in Tbilisi to claim the ENC Div. 1A title over the weekend. 27,000 supporters turned out at Mikheil Meskhi Stadium for the match to see who would join New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and an African qualifier in the group stages of next year's Rugby World Cup. Georgia ultimately managed it, with Romania, who had already qualified for the tournament, going in with France, Ireland, Italy and Canada.
Jannie du Plessis: The Sharks and Springbok prop caused a few raised eye-brows with his response to referee Lourens van der Merwe after van der Merwe warned him to improve his binding technique in the scrums. Du Plessis, during a break in play in the Sharks' clash with the Reds, could be heard telling the referee not to lecture him as ex-Springbok prop Balie Swart and former international referee Paddy O'Brien, who also headed the IRB's Referee Board, had given his technique the thumbs up. Credit to Du Plessis though for phoning the match official a couple of days later to apologise for his backchat.
Get these guys a cup of warm soup!
Ben McCalman: The Western Force number eight was one of his side's heroes in their win over the Highlanders in Dunedin as he scored one of the Perth-based franchise's four tries. All his good efforts were undone though by a moment of madness when he was sent to the sin bin – and subsequently suspended for two weeks – for a tip tackle on Kane Hames late in the match.
Poor call at Ellis Park: The Blues were reeling after a try was awarded to Lions full-back Coenie van Wyk on Saturday. The score was 23-15 in favour of the home side, with the Blues very much on the comeback trail after a score from Bryn Hall. Then came a moment of controversy when referee Stuart Berry and his TMO Johan Greeff adjudged that it wasn't a knock-on in the lead-up to the score. Judge for yourself.
Stuart Hogg: Out of character and he knows it, Hogg was shown red in the 22nd minutes against Wales after taking out fly-half Dan Biggar when the ball had gone. Scotland's full-back had to watch the rest of the game from the sideline and while we have sympathy, there was no excuse for what he did.
Biarritz: BO reached a milestone on Friday but it's not one they would like to brag about as they hit the 500 mark for points conceded. It came against 13th-placed Oyonnax as their closest rivals prevailed 24-22 at Parc des Sports AquilÃ©ra, meaning BO are now a massive seventeen points adrift at the foot of the standings. What makes it worse it was arguably their strongest XV playing, including Dimitri Yachvili and Imanol Harinordoquy.