Planet Rugby

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

21st December 2011 11:04

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Hot or not feature dec 12

Hot stuff: Mrs-Foden-to-be... Not so much: gardening during the game

It's time for our weekly wrap up of who needs an ice-cold beer and who should head to the shops for a new jumper!

Sssssssizzling...

Munster: With four rounds of the Heineken Cup done and dusted, the two-time champions are the only side with a perfect record of four wins. It hasn't exactly been flash rugby - it seldom is from the Munstermen - but they certainly know how to get the job done.

Leinster: Many pundits' pick for another European crown, the defending champions showed their class with a seven-try demolition of Bath last weekend. Three wins, a draw and a couple of bonus points have left the Dublin side equal with Munster on 16 points in the race to the top ranking for the play-offs.

Stade Franšais: After a horrible start to the term which saw the Parisian club struggle to get going after a major overhaul during the offseason, the men in pink are starting to find their mojo. A sixth consecutive win in all competitions is on the cards against floundering Biarritz on Friday.

Mike Brown: The Harlequins full-back has become a try machine this season. After touching down against Toulouse at the Stoop, he went one better by bagging a brace in that unforgettable return match in France on Sunday.

Milton Haig, Kingsley Jones and Eddie Jones: Counties Manukau coach Milton Haig has been appointed head coach of Georgia's ever-improving national team. Former Sale head honcho Kingsley Jones is the new boss of Russia's Bears while former Wallaby coach Eddie Jones is set to be appointed to the hot seat in Japan. Kudos to all three.

Premiership fans: Despite all the bad press surrounding the RFU and the England team, fans at club level in England are enjoying the game more than ever. A ten percent rise in attendance figures = good news for everyone.

The future Mrs. Ben Foden: We make a point of staying far away from 'celebrity news' but we'll make an exception this week because Una Healy ( she's a singer from 'The Saturdays') recently announced that she's engaged to England full-back Ben Foden. She's hot. Lucky fella....


Brr...someone turn the heater on!

Harlequins' touchline antics: More than any other club, you would have thought that Harlequins would make a special effort to stay out of unnecessary trouble on the sidelines. It's rare in rugby to see the ref have to reprimand a member of the technical staff or a player on the bench but twice in Toulouse Alain Rolland was called into action because members of the Quins contingent purposefully touched to ball to prevent the home side from taking a quick line-out. It's not exactly Bloodgate but it's definitely not sportsmanlike and Will Skinner's red card is likely to be followed up by more punishment.

The Stadium de Toulouse pitch: The problem with playing rugby games in soccer stadiums is that, unlike the prancing fairies that play the round-ball game, scrums tend to give the surface a good working over. Instead of being forced to bring on a gaggle of gardeners every ten minutes to do running repairs, we suggest that the groundsmen at le Stadium allow the grass grow a little longer and a little tougher.

Jerome Garces: It's our policy to avoid badmouthing referees but it was hard not to be frustrated by Monsieur Garces's performance at Liberty Stadium last Friday. Both coaches were very vocal about how the scrum turned into a bit of a farce and he struggled to communicate with the captains. It might seem like a harsh call considering most English-speaking refs couldn't give you time of day in French, but the problem seemed to lie less with his language skills (which are commendable) but the way he used them.

Castres: Fans of French rugby were left pulling their hair out by Toulouse's loss on Sunday but almost more frustrating was the way Castres approached their game in Northampton. Despite having given Saints a good hiding the week before, les Tarnais seemed to have given up hope of qualifying for the quarter-finals so sent a below strength side to England and were handed a 45-0 drubbing. C'est agašant...

Aironi: Unlike Treviso, Aironi just can't get it together this season. They've won just a single game in 14 starts in all competitions and their points column in Heineken Cup Pool Four shows a big fat 'zero.'

Connacht: The newcomers have found live tough in Europe's top flight and are yet to pick up a win. The Irish side are putting up a good fight but aren't getting the results. Back in the Pro12 this weekend they head to Thomond Park - where they have not won since 1986 - off the back of a ten-match losing streak in all competitions. Tough times.

Compiled by Ross Hastie

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
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International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
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International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
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International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
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Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821