Planet Rugby

Who's hot...and who's not!

11th August 2014 08:12

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Hot or not feature August 11 2014

Hot: Comeback hero Smith - Not: Misfiring Black Ferns

It's time for Planet Rugby's 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!

Juan Smith: In February 2013 Smith announced his retirement from rugby because of a troublesome Achilles injury. On Wednesday, he was called up to the Springboks squad for the Rugby Championship after a sensational season in France for Toulon. We're yet to be entirely convinced about Heyneke Meyer's decision to use him at lock, but knowing Smith, he'll do a fine job there as well.

Western Province and Golden Lions: Both scored late tries to secure bonus points in their respective wins over the EP Kings and Blue Bulls to set the early pace in the Currie Cup. Points away from home are always crucial and WP will happy with their second half after blowing hot and cold before the break in Port Elizabeth. Meanwhile, in Jozi, the Lions were rewarded for their positive intent as they gave the Bulls a lesson in how to keep ball in hand.

Luke Watson: It's not often that a player on the losing team is named the Man of the Match, but the Kings skipper was well worth the award. But that's not why he makes the 'hot' section this week. Instead, we want to applaud the ex-Bok for his setting a positive example. Watson came within inches of scoring a try, only to have the ball knocked from his hands in the act of diving over. Rather than allowing everyone's time to be wasted with multiple TMO reviews, he told the ref he hadn't got it down, so they could get on with the game. Let's hope he starts a trend.

Women's World Cup semi-finalists: Hosts France will face Canada while Ireland will face England in the final four. A 13-all draw between England and Canada was enough to ensure they both progressed, knocking New Zealand out in the process. Ireland had earlier booked their place in the semis for the first time after they cruised past Kazakhstan 40-5. In the final game on Saturday, France faced their toughest test yet but eventually prevailed 17-3 against Australia to finish as the top qualifiers in the pool stages.

Gloucester: The Cherry and Whites wrapped up back-to-back Premiership Rugby 7s titles on Friday as they overcame the Dragons in the final with Steph Reynolds the standout performer.

Clermont, Lyon, Brive, Toulon: A perfect record in pre-season for these four outfits, with Clermont looking irresistible in convincing wins over Montpellier and Connacht as new fly-half Camille Lopez stood out in particular. Promoted Lyon picked up the scalp of Stade Français while Brive beat last year's runners-up Castres. Victories over Toulouse and Racing showed that Toulon are already in form, although an injury to Mamuka Gorgodze is a cause for concern.


Broken thermostat:

Sharks: There are no easy points to be gained in Kimberley these days but the Sharks will head home harbouring a few regrets after failing to pick up a full house, despite playing against 14 men for 73 minutes. In the end, they were relieved just to get the win. Credit to the Griquas for fighting to the death and earning a deserved losing bonus point.

Jonathan Kaplan: It's rare to hear refs or even ex-refs call out their fellow officials, but the uncomfortable truth is Kaplan's comments about officiating standards in Super Rugby - the TMOs especially - could well be warranted. Having said that, Craig Joubert and co. can't be too impressed at being undermined by a former colleague, and you can bet that Kaplan would not have enjoyed his performances being criticised in the same way during his own career.


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Black Ferns: They had not lost a World Cup game for 23 years, but defeat to Ireland in their second pool game was enough to see New Zealand knocked out of the Women's Rugby World Cup before the semi-finals. It represents the worst result in their history and means that, after four straight titles, someone else will now be crowned world champs.

SA Women: After losing their captain Mandisa Williams to a 16-week ban, for alleged eye gouging, and suffering a 26-3 defeat to Australia in their tournament opener, things have gone from bad to worse for the Springbok women's team. Coach Lawrence Sephaka's charges suffered a 55-3 loss to hosts France in their second match before Wales thrashed them 35-3 in their final pool game at the weekend. That means they have amassed a paltry nine points throughout the tournament and conceded 116 points in the process.

Parisian Clubs: Four pre-season matches, no wins. It doesn't make for pretty reading for Stade Français and Racing-Métro. If the latter will not be too worried by a hard-fought defeat to Toulon in their second pre-season game, there will be greater concern for Gonzalo Quesada's men. A hammering from Castres was followed up with a 24-14 loss to ProD2 champions Lyon. After finishing last season with just one win from their last seven matches in all competitions, is it time to worry?

Philippe Saint-André: Things don't get any better for the beleaguered French coach with the arrival of Serge Blanco in a more hands-on role with the national team. Whether the man who oversaw Biarritz's relegation is the person to babysit Saint-André and turn things around for France, remains to be seen, however. It does seem that Blanco will use his influence to stop Rory Kockott getting called up in November.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs AustraliaBarbarians vs Australia Preview
USA vs New ZealandUSA vs New Zealand Preview
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
Friday , November 7
Scarlets vs Northampton19:30
Ospreys vs Saracens19:35
Harlequins vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:45
Newcastle vs Cardiff Blues20:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs MunsterCardiff Blues vs Munster Preview
Scarlets vs ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Preview
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gonsUlster vs Newport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Ospreys 26 - 11 ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Report
Glasgow 17 - 9 Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Report
Leinster 33 - 8 EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615