Planet Rugby

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

30th May 2012 14:07

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Harlequins celebrates Premiership title Twickenham

Hot, hot, hot!: Harlequins

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 smoooooookin'!

Ospreys and Shane Williams: The victory seemed to be getting away from the Ospreys when Heineken Cup champions Leinster took a 30-21 lead after Isa Nacewa's second try. But the Welsh outfit bounced back superbly to stun the RDS crowd with a 10-point spurt in the final 10 minutes. Add to that Wales legend Williams scoring two tries - his second being a late winner - and the Ospreys had achieved a remarkable comeback. Credit also to Steve Tandy.

Harlequins: Who could argue that Conor O'Shea's outfit deserved to get their hands on the Aviva Premiership trophy over the weekend? Top since Round Three and having played some excellent rugby throughout the season, Harlequins finished it all off with a 30-23 victory over Leicester at Twickenham.

Matt Giteau: Okay so Jonny Wilkinson isn't kicking well, who can we get to fill in? That Matt Giteau ain't bad. Wilkinson was one from four when former Wallaby fly-half Giteau took over the responsibilities and from there, Toulon never looked back as the Australian's nine points along with flank Steffon Armitage's try booked the star-studded Toulon into a semi-final clash against Clermont. Bernard Laporte will hope for better in Toulouse this Saturday.

Chris Ashton: Mike Catt said in the aftermath that one of the most pleasing aspects of England's 57-26 victory over the Barbarians was watching Chris Ashton getting over the whitewash once again. In all the now Saracens winger crossed three times at Twickenham as his roaming style paid dividends, popping up on the shoulder of several runners throughout the game. England will need Ashton in top form in June's three-Test series in South Africa.

Sharks and Chiefs: What can you say about these two franchises at the moment? The Sharks possess arguably the best back-row options in Super Rugby and have Fred Michalak and Pat Lambie controlling their play from behind. Meanwhile, the Chiefs continue to record victories as time begins to run out for the Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes in the New Zealand conference. A favourable run-in for the Sharks adds weight to this being a possible final.

'Canes back-three: Seven tries were picked up between Andre Taylor, Alapati Leiua and Julian Savea on Saturday as a struggling Rebels outfit could not cope with the clinical trio. Taylor has not let his All Blacks snub get to him while Savea seems to be going from strength to strength ahead of June.


Bbbrrrr... Someone turn up the heater!

Pre-tour injuries: Rugby in June will miss the impact of Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris while England will be without versatile prop Matt Stevens (much to the pleasure of some of our readers). But it's not just the northern hemisphere nations being hit by injuries as teams from the south also battle to keep their players fit. Fingers are crossed no more fall before June 9.

Lions: Still under that thick cloud of next season (will they or won't they be in Super Rugby) the Lions continue to struggle in 2012's competition as they fell to the Force. The Currie Cup triumph must seem like an age away now as John Mitchell also contends with the loss of injured back Jaco Taute.

CJ van der Linde: Upon writing this, the Springbok prop's hearing has been adjourned to an as yet unknown date. However, those who saw the footage of Saturday's incident involving Toby Lynn might have already made their own mind up. Judging from New Zealand referee Garratt Williamson's reaction to seeing the forearm of the Force lock, one feels Van der Linde could be set for a significant spell on the sidelines. He had been playing well too.

Montpellier: Friday's play-off in Toulouse was one to forget for Montpol. They didn't even manage to get out of second gear and in a knockout clash to progress to the Top 14 semi-finals, we expected better from Fabien Galthié's side. Players like Mamuka Gorgodze didn't repeat the form that terrorised Leinster in the Heineken Cup Pools while their classy back-three barely earned a mention from the match commentators. Poor end to the year.

Munster retirements: Coincidence or is there cause for concern at Thomond Park? Darragh Hurley became the fourth Munster player to call time on his career last week, joining Denis Leamy, Jerry Flannery and David Wallace in hanging up his boots. Good luck to the quartet in their respective futures.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Castres vs BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Preview
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs SharksPumas vs Sharks Preview
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Preview
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Preview
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Thursday , September 4
Otago vs Canterbury19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Friday , August 29
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00