Planet Rugby

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

02nd October 2012 15:33

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Cory Jane and Mike Phillips

Champions: New Zealand

It is time for Planet Rugby's weekly wrap of who has their name in lights right now...and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons...

They're smokin'!

Ulster and Connacht: It truly was a remarkable performance from the Ravenhill outfit down in Cardiff on Friday as they returned to PRO12 action for the first time since the unfortunate death of team-mate Nevin Spence. With the initials NS on the shirts, Ulster put in their best showing for some time as tries from Michael Allen, Nick Williams (2), Tommy Bowe (2), Jared Payne and Andrew Trimble saw them prevail 48-19. That same night, Connacht recorded a 34-6 bonus-point win over Heineken Cup champions Leinster in Galway. It was a five-try, five-star effort.

All Blacks: A mention first of all for hat-trick man Cory Jane and the impressive Kieran Read but this inclusion is more for the collective. New Zealand claimed the inaugural Rugby Championship title in La Plata over the weekend in some style with a fine win in Argentina. No doubt they celebrated the success but now, can they finish the job in Soweto for a six from six record. It promises to be some event, with South Africa eager to crash the party.

Bryan Habana: Put simply, it was an outstanding performance from the veteran. While critics have been quick to slam the Springboks in the past, Habana has never given up trying to lift his side. He made nine runs for 117 metres at his former home ground on Saturday and was fully deserving of his hat-trick. It is set to come down to a straight shootout with Cory Jane (5) and Habana (6) in Johannesburg for who tops the Rugby Championship try tally.

Canterbury: Not a bad day at the office was it. 84 points, twelve tries and a big fat zero by the side of Southland on the scorecard on Sunday. Johnny McNicholl scored a hat-trick, Telusa Veainu and Paea Fa'anunu picked up two while there was one score apiece for Willi Heinz, Robbie Fruean, Adam Whitelock, Nasi Manu and George Whitelock. Meanwhile, Tom Taylor kicked all twelve conversions in a victory that sent a warning to their ITM Cup play-off rivals.


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Mike Phillips and Cedric Heymans: The Bayonne duo received suspensions for what was described by club president Alain Afflelou as "unacceptable off-field behaviour" after their loss to Toulouse. Heymans' indiscretion was a surprise but Phillips was also suspended by Wales last year when he misbehaved during a late-night incident in Cardiff outside a fast food restaurant. The Welshman's suspension has now been lifted but tut-tut Michael.

Sale: The Premiership's bottom-placed team's horror start continued when they suffered a 31-10 loss to Bath last weekend. That means that Bryan Redpath's men have now lost five successive matches and have gathered just one point from a potential 25 on offer already this season! Forwards coach Steve Scott became the sacrifical lamb when he was fired in the run-up to the Bath match and Sale CEO Steve Diamond has promised to replace him with someone "with a real proven track record at the highest level," by the end of the week. We await that appointment with anticipation. Next up, a home clash with Leicester Tigers.

Laser in La Plata: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen brushed it off as "no big deal" but shining a laser into a player's face while he is lining up a goal-kick is seriously uncool. New Zealand had already notched 50 points in their 54-14 success over the Pumas when an Argentine supporter shone the laser into Aaron Cruden's face but one can't help but wonder what Hansen's reaction would have been if his team held a narrow lead or were trailing matters.

Wallaby injury count: To say coach Robbie Deans was in charge of a depleted Wallabies side in their 31-8 loss to the Springboks in Pretoria would be an underestatement. Injury-ravaged is a term which best describes what Australia suffered in that Test. Adam Ashley-Cooper (concussion) and Berrick Barnes (chest), Tatafu Polota-Nau (head and shoulder), Digby Ioane (knee) and Radike Samo (shoulder) were all forced off the field on Saturday.

By Adam Kyriacou and David Skippers

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Preview
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs ZebreMunster vs Zebre Preview
Cardiff Blues vs UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Preview
Connacht vs LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Preview
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
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Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
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Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs PumasLions vs Pumas Preview
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
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ITM Cup
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
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Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
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Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
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ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
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Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
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Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
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Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
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Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
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ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26