It's 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.
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!
Free-running France: After smashing Australia and thumping Argentina, Philippe Saint-AndrÃ©'s Bleus are the talk of November. Complacency is now a danger against Samoa this weekend. No need to remind French fans what Samoa's neighbours Tonga did to them at the last World Cup.
Giant-slaying Samoa: After years of bleating about how Argentina deserved a place in a big annual tournament, perhaps it's time we turned our attention to the South Pacific.
Streetwise Australia: Written off in every newsroom and pub from Brighton to Manchester before kick-off at Twickenham, the Wallabies showed why they are ranked in the world's top three. Kudos to Robbie Deans and his boys for making limited resources go a long way.
All-conquering All Blacks: Even when they have a bad day, no one in the northern hemisphere can live with New Zealand for 80 minutes. Last week they turned it on at the perfect time in Rome.
Craig Gilroy: A great prospect for Irish rugby. The 21-year-old's reward for scoring a hat-trick against Fiji? A three-year contract extension with Ulster and a starting berth in Ireland's Test side. Bravo!
First-half Italy: The result wasn't forthcoming, but the Azzurri sure gave the All Blacks a run for their money for about an hour. Jacques Brunel promised that his side would start playing attractive rugby and while Rome wasn't built in a day, some decent foundations have been laid.
Tonga and Canada: The IRB's mini-tournament in Wales has been welcomed by all concerned – even if a few big-name players have been conspicuous by their absence. Well done to Tonga and Canada for bouncing back from defeat a week earlier to win last Friday.
Springboks defence: No secrets about where the Boks are focussing their attention. The green and gold wall is higher and harder than than ever.
Bbbrrrr… Someone turn up the heater!
Springboks attack: With only a try from a rolling maul against a disorganised Scottish defence and an intercept by a hooker to show for their efforts in Edinburgh, the Boks aren't winning any creativity awards. Heyneke Meyer said it best: “Attack puts bums in seats but defence wins trophies.” At this rate by the time the Springboks win a trophy, there will be no one left to see it.
Overlapping fixtures: So you hope to watch a whole a bunch of Tests this weekend? Too bad for you! The games in Florence, Dublin, London and Edinburgh all overlap, as do the clashes in Paris and Cardiff. Someone buy the bureaucrats a &$%@#! calendar and a phone!!!!
Wales: The longest losing streak in a decade was not what we were expecting after last year's Grand Slam. With the All Blacks and Wallabies next on the menu, the light at the end of the tunnel seems very far away.
Six Nations Disciplinary Committee: To call last week's disciplinary hearing verdicts inconsistent would be an understatement. Even the bosses at the IRB think so.
Rose-tinted press: Certain sectors of the English press have a habit of getting ahead of themselves. Just expecting England to rumble over the Aussie scrum was a little short sighted considering how steady the Wallaby set-piece was during the Rugby Championship.
Hipster November bandwagoners: Growing a moustache during Movember? Cool! If you're doing just to be hip, not-so-cool. It's supposed to be for a good cause.
By Ross Hastie