Planet Rugby

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

18th August 2014 08:46


Hot or not image 18 Aug 2014

Hot: England Women - Not: New Zealand

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 on fire!

England Women: After three Finals lost to New Zealand, the ladies in white finally got their hands back on the silverware, beating Canada 21-9 in the final to reclaim the Women's World Cup for the first time since 1994. Emily Scarratt scored 16 points, including the title-clinching try. Veteran openside Maggie Alphonsi also deserves credit for another brilliant display in what was her final Test.

Pumas set-piece: Be warned, Argentina will not be pushovers in the Rugby Championship. Los Pumas were written of before the start of Saturday's clash with the Springboks but in retrospect they probably deserved a draw... if not more. To be fair on the Boks, the unexpected torrential rain was a great leveler but the way the visiting pack dominated at scrum time and fronted up in the tight exchanges was impressive. It's rare that South Africa's line-out comes off second best but there too the South Americans caused all sorts of trouble.

Nathan Charles: With Australia's top two hookers sidelined, Charles had a target on his back in Sydney but produced a top-class performance against New Zealand in Sydney. Charles, who was making his first Test start, was on the field for the full 80 minutes. Enough evidence that Wallabies coach was more than happy with his effort.

Toby Flood: How do you win over the fans at your new club? Well, scoring all your team's points, including a try, to save the club from an embarrassing defeat in your first game would be good start. Well played.

Magali Harvey: What a try that was against France from the newly-crowned IRB Women's Player of the Year, who has impressed throughout the Women's World Cup. The Canadian wing's pace and ability to weave in and out of the would-be tacklers makes her a special talent.

Waikato and Canterbury: Excellent wins from these two outfits in their opening ITM Cup games as the Mooloo Men won at Wellington while Canterbury hammered Auckland in Christchurch. Wellington were missing several first-team regulars due to international commitments or injury, but still were expected to beat Waikato, who had other ideas as two tries from Sevens star Joe Webber saw them win 37-25. Canterbury meanwhile scored six tries in their 48-9 home demolition of Auckland as they started the 2014 season - looking for a seventh successive title - in impressive style.

Western Province and Golden Lions: Level at the top of the Currie Cup standings after a perfect haul of ten points from two games, these two look like the sides to beat this season. WP ran six tries past the Blue Bulls in Cape Town while the Lions smashed the EP Kings 60-19 at Ellis Park.

Stade Franšais and Brive: Along with Racing Metro, Stade Franšais were the big winners of Round One of the Top 14 as both Parisian clubs bagged precious away wins. While Racing needed a bit of luck to get past Montpellier, Stade conquered Castres' normally impenetrable fortress. Meanwhile, Brive were they only side to claim a try bonus-point the opening weekend and sit top of the standings after having thrashed La Rochelle 37-15.

Buenos Aires 7s: The club from Argentina's capital city were crowned the 2014 World Club 7s champions at Twickenham on Sunday after launching a superb comeback against Auckland in the final.

Broken Thermostat:

South Africa: It almost went horribly, horribly wrong for South Africa as they battled their way past a dogged Pumas outfit that is ranked outside the top 10. While he won't admit as much in public, Heyneke Meyer will be very worried by the way the Bok scrum was shunted around and his team's inability to hold onto the ball. But let's not forget that the Boks did win, thanks largely to some very good defending at the death as they soaked up buckets of pressure from Argentina without conceding.

Australia: Did they halt the All Blacks winning streak? Yes. But they didn't win either, meaning that Ewen McKenzie's team are left with a massive mountain to climb if they are to regain the Bledisloe Cup. A first win at Eden Park since 1984 is now required.

Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

>**Insert deity in charge of rain here<** We're not sure who to blame for the rain in Sydney and Pretoria, but the ill-timed showers in both cities ruined the opening weekend of the Rugby Championship. It promised so much yet turned out to be damp squib.

New Zealand: For any other team in the world, a draw in Australia would be worth a spot in the 'hot' section. But no one in the All Blacks camp will feel that missing out on a world record is worth celebrating. For the first time in almost two years they failed to score and the counters are reset to zero as they chase that elusive 18th straight win. With seven yellow cards conceded in their last ten Tests there is a red light shining on Steve Hansen's dashboard.

Blue Bulls and EP Kings: Ag nee man! the men from Pretoria's Currie Cup form so far has been about as good as the weather at Loftus on Saturday. They probably would have preferred a bit of rain to the sunshine at Newlands as old rivals WP ran them ragged. Frans Ludeke's charges have scored just two tries from two matches and conceded 10 in the process. The men from Port Elizabeth have also found the going tough since returning to the top tier of South African rugby. While the Kings have scored more tries than the Bulls, in their two games, they have already conceded 95 points, including 13 tries.

The bad from Altrad Stadium: Montpellier hooker Charles Geli was red carded in the 40th minute for throwing several punches after coming up from a scrum. Maybe Geli was provoked off camera but the pictures suggested that Geli was the instigator as his fists flew. He did cop a few himself but the pain was probably made worse as he ended up watching his team-mates go down to a 19-16 defeat to Racing Metro, despite playing superbly with fourteen men. However, the result wasn't without controversy as a Johan Goosen drop-goal from distance - which seemed to dip under the crossbar - on 52 minutes proved key. Referee Salim Attalah wanted to check with the TMO whether the ball had gone over and after a few replays, amazingly he gave it the green light.

Taranaki and Counties Manukau: Most New Zealand professional teams are regarded as trendsetters and they are renowned worldwide for their attacking style of play. However, there was little evidence of that on display in the ITM Cup opener between these two sides in New Plymouth which ended in a draw with neither side crossing the whitewash for a try during a dull 80 minutes.

Forthcoming Fixtures
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
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Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
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Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
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Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
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Recent Results
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
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Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
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Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
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Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
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Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
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Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
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Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
5Leicester Tigers39