It’s time for Planet Rugby’s 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!
Racing 92: Hung right in there against Toulon after a fast start to advance to the Champions Cup semi-finals. Even with Dan Carter’s knee playing up and facing a tough time in the scrum, they were still able to get over the line. Beating their rivals who have had so much success recently? Even sweeter.
Fiji, Morocco’s Adil Achahbar: A third title of the season for Fiji to go with their triumphs in Dubai and Las Vegas – they just had too much class for New Zealand in the Hong Kong final. A shoutout as well for this athletic moment from Morocco playmaker Achahbar. Rounding off a flip over the advertising with a salute and jump back? Smooth.
Peter Betham: So much to like about Leicester’s attacking play this season and they tore Stade Français apart on Sunday, with the Man of the Match playing a major role. An inspired season along with Telusa Veainu, who under Aaron Mauger’s guidance has been a dynamic threat all season.
Liam Gill and Samu Kerevi: An unbelievable performance from the flanker and it was no coincidence that his superb showing coincided with the Reds winning on Saturday. The Highlanders could not cope with the openside’s scavenging at ruck time while he offered so much with ball in hand around the field. Nine carries, 71 running metres, three clean breaks and seven tackles while Kerevi was excellent during the first period and finished with a try, assist, sixteen carries, seven clean breaks and 161 metres. The Highlanders couldn’t live with him.
Jean-Luc du Plessis: What an excellent starting debut from the young fly-half as he scored a brilliant individual try to go with 11 points from his boot. Granted it was against a somewhat depleted Sunwolves team but he oozed confidence and looks a very solid prospect indeed.
Wasps versus Exeter Chiefs: No words needed, just watch the highlights.
— BT Sport Rugby (@btsportrugby) 10 April 2016
Connacht: Gave it absolutely everything in Grenoble, scoring four tries and in Matt Healy they have an absolute star for whom Test rugby looks very much on the horizon. But they just couldn’t get the win. Possibly no bad thing with the PRO12 title still on the cards, but this is a very special side.
Stranded on an icecap
Stade Français: An abject defensive showing at Welford Road from the reigning Top 14 champions who can’t wait for this shambles of a season to come to an end. Only Oyonnax and Agen sit below them in the league but it’s European glory which they crave, and here they were a long old way off.
Sharks: Rough day for the Sharks, a revealing defeat to the Lions topped off by losing Marcell Coetzee to what looks to be a serious knee injury. Now a tour to face the Blues, Highlanders and Chiefs awaits which will make or break their season.
Gloucester: David Humphreys might be starting to get a little hot under the collar. Full credit to the Dragons for their win at Kingsholm, but those are the kind of contest you expect Gloucester to put away given all their recent investment. In a real rut, without a win since the beginning of March.
Timothy Bond: The Sunwolves second-row is set for a spell on the sidelines after he was red carded for a shoulder charge on diminutive Stormers full-back Cheslin Kolbe. Bond’s action was inexcusable as it was also a late hit and what makes it worse is that he only returned to action recently, after serving a one-match suspension for foul play during his side’s loss to the Rebels in Round Four.