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 Galthiť'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
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
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
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
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
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
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
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