It’s time for Planet Rugby’s wrap of who has their name in lights at the moment… and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.
They’re on fire!!
Israel Dagg: With the way he’s played this year, it’s hard to believe that Dagg was left out of last year’s victorious Rugby World Cup squad. The Crusaders star crossed twice in Wellington and has looked razor sharp throughout 2016.
New Zealand: That big old Bledisloe Cup is going nowhere. Steve Hansen and his coaching staff will be thrilled that the All Blacks ran in four tries, but they might be even happier about the fact that Australia have only scored one try against their defence in 160 minutes, and that was very much a consolation effort. Surely it will take a disaster for them to not win The Rugby Championship.
Argentina: More history for Daniel Hourcade’s Pumas, with Saturday’s win in Salta being their first over South Africa on home soil, and their second ever over the Springboks. Argentina were unlucky to lose the previous week in Nelspruit but this time they got the job done. All the emotion at the end showed how much it meant to Agustín Creevy and his players.
Santiago Iglesias: A big moment for the youngster with Nicolás Sánchez and Juan Martín Hernandez off the field and he certainly delivered, landing the winning kick to make it 26-24 in Salta.
Bryan Habana: A result to forget but the veteran deserves acknowledgement for passing David Campese’s Tier 1 try scoring record with his 65th try. A fine offload from Francois Louw to put him away as well.
Racing 92: More like it from the champions, who pulled away from newcomers Lyon at the start of the second half thanks to tries from Luc Ducalcon and Henry Chavancy (his second effort) to secure a bonus-point win.
Someone turn up the heater!
South Africa: For the second successive week the Boks delivered an error-strewn and disjointed performance against Argentina, but unlike their first Rugby Championship Test in Nelspruit, their luck ran out in Salta. Gone are the days when the two-time world champions could run roughshod over their opposition and this result means they have now lost their second Test in as many years against los Pumas. The men in green and gold will have to do some serious soul-searching as their supporters will expect a response when they face Australia in Brisbane on September 10.
Sanzaar: The ruling, by the organisation which is the game’s governing body in the Southern Hemisphere, that All Blacks prop Owen Franks had nothing to answer for after he attempted to put his hands near Kane Douglas’ eyes was baffling, especially when one looks at video evidence of the incident which follows below:
Australia: The Wallabies’ poor run continued in Wellington as they, once again, came off second best to their trans-Tasman rivals. That result means Australia have now lost their last four matches against the world champions and it’s also their sixth straight defeat in all Tests, with their last victory being their semi-final triumph over Argentina at the 2015 World Cup in England. Head coach Michael Cheika appears to be in denial by saying he’s not under any added pressure.
Grenoble, Pau and Montpellier: Although it’s still early days, the aforementioned teams have made a slow start in the Top 14 and are currently languishing at the bottom of the standings. All three sides have lost their opening two fixtures and although each managed to secure a solitary bonus point, they will be keen to claim their first wins so that they can move off the foot of the table.
Pumas and EP Kings: These two teams are bringing up the rear in the Currie Cup and are winless after the first three rounds of action. While the Pumas have picked up a bonus point in each of their defeats, the Kings have only done that once and are firmly rooted to the bottom of the table with a solitary point from their three matches.