Planet Rugby

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

23rd October 2012 12:11

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Leicester and Scott Higginbotham for Hot and Not

What a finish: Leicester Tigers

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'!

Australia: Expected to be a simple walk-over for a full-strength New Zealand outfit looking to move to within just one victory of Lithuania, a spare-parts Wallabies side - missing many of their leading stars through injury - ended the All Blacks' 16-Test winning streak with an honourable 18-18 draw.

The Sharks and Western Province: The two teams will battle it out in this year's Currie Cup final after wildly contrasting semi-final victories over the Blue Bulls and Golden Lions respectively. Sharks fly-half Pat Lambie turned in a second man-of-the-match performance in as many weeks to help his side to a 20-3 win in Durban in a match played on a rain-drenched pitch. And at Coca-Cola Park, Lions pivot Elton Jantjies kicked what seemed like a match-winning penalty with 90 seconds remaining - only for WP to maul flank Deon Fourie over the line on the hooter to seal a famous win.

Canterbury and Auckland: Christchurch will play host to the 2012 ITM Cup final after Canterbury and Auckland saw off Taranaki and Wellington in their respective semis. The Canterbury crowd were treated to one of the most entertaining games of domestic rugby in recent history, when their team prevailed 51-27 after extra-time to edge them closer to becoming the first team to win five consecutive ITM Cup titles. Trailing 22-14 late in the game, three quick-fire tries in the final 23 minutes saw Auckland storm home to book themselves a place in the grand finale for the first time since 2007.

Leicester v Ospreys: Leicester secured an unlikely bonus-point triumph with a blistering onslaught of 20 points in the last 18 minutes to leave the Ospreys shell-shocked during a pulsating Heineken Cup encounter at Welford Road. A fantastic advert for European rugby.

Saracens, Toulouse, Harlequins, Ulster, Clermont, Leinster, Toulon: All of these teams remain unbeaten after two rounds of the Heineken Cup and top their respective pools with the exception of Leinster, who occupy second spot in Pool Five below Clermont.


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Scott Higginbotham: We thought we saw the dumbest act of the season when Dean Greyling smashed his forearm into Richie McCaw's face during the All Blacks win over the Springboks in Dunedin earlier this year. Well, Higginbotham's acts of thuggery on the All Blacks captain in Brisbane last week certainly gives the Greyling incident a run for its money. The Wallaby has subsequently received a two-Test ban for his actions.

Steve Hansen: Talk about the wrong time to give an answer to this sort of question. Your team has just missed out on continuing their fine winning run and then coach Hansen decides to land a dig at the Australian rugby setup for its apparent "poaching" tactics. Maybe the heat of the moment got to the All Blacks boss but next time we are sure he will send those sort of questions back at the respective journalist with a straight bat and straight face.

Blue Bulls: The less said about the men from Pretoria's display in their Currie Cup semi-final loss to the Sharks the better. From the outset they struggled to get going and hardly threatened to score points. Their misery was compounded when Springbok fly-half Morne Steyn and young prop Morne Mellett were cited for alleged foul play. Time to regroup.

Situation at Sale: It is difficult not to feel sorry for Bryan Redpath as John Mitchell's arrival most probably ousts him from Sale's hot seat. Whatever the club may say about the Scot's position not changing, it is difficult to see a coach like Mitchell playing second fiddle at the Sharks. Mitchell has today been talking about the possibility of bringing in Brian Ashton to help improve Danny Cipriani as a player but also said "the team can only have one leader" and he (Redpath) is "employed to be a leader". Mixed messages in our eyes we feel and unfortunately also for Redpath, who seems to have handled the exit of Steve Scott and now the Mitchell's arrival with real class. On the positive side, their performances are improving.

Forthcoming Fixtures
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Harlequins vs LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Preview
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
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Northampton vs London Irish14:00
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Leinster vs Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Preview
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Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
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Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
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Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
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Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
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Hurricanes vs BluesHurricanes vs Blues Preview
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
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Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
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Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
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Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
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Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
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Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
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Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
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Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
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Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
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Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
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Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
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Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954