Planet Rugby

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

22nd October 2013 13:41

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Hot or not october 22 2013

Hot: Winning at Wembley - Not: Drunk at work

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!

Toulouse: Six other teams have tried, and failed, to beat Saracens this season. Many thought that Guy Novès would have settled for a losing bonus-point at Wembley but the four-time champions showed they are very much still amongst the top teams in Europe as a massive performance from the rouge et noir bench secured a victory that could change the shape of the competition. Nine points from their first two games = hot.

Western Province and Sharks: It's the Currie Cup Final we all expected. WP are yet to lose this season and will back themselves to retain the title at Newlands in a rematch of last year's title decider on Saturday. The Sharks will contest their fourth consecutive final and will have revenge on their minds after the loss in Durban twelve months ago.

Ulster: When Toulon travelled to Montpellier they were lucky to snatch a draw. Toulouse were thrashed 25-0 there. Clermont were dealt a 40-point whipping. So for Ulster to get four Heineken Cup pool points from their visit to Stade Yves-du-Manoir is a significant result. Next up? Treviso at Ravenhill.

Wellington and Canterbury: The duo got past Counties Manukau and Auckland in their respective semi-finals to set up a mouth-watering final. Wellington have lost just once this campaign - in the last round of the regular season against Hawkes' Bay - so deserve their place in this week's clash while Canterbury seem to be peaking at just the right time ahead of their sixth straight final. We back the Lions to triumph though, with the back-row battle already whetting the appetite.

Cardiff Blues: Talk about enjoying a season-changing performance. The Blues lifted their efforts and played like their lives depended on it over last weekend as they beat Heineken Cup champions Toulon at the Arms Park. There were tears from director of rugby Phil Davies in the changing room after the result and who can blame him as critics were answered. Furthermore, it was also Davies' 50th birthday - we think the victory topped the present pile.

Gio Aplon: They say dynamite comes in small packages and Aplon illustrated this point perfectly when he scored a memorable individual try in Western Province's semi-final win over the Lions in Cape Town. With plenty of skill, and pace to burn, Aplon is a rare species in South Africa and he has given Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer a timely reminder of his match-changing ability ahead of the Boks' end-of-year tour to Europe.

Courtney Lawes: Alongside fellow star man Christian Day, Lawes was superb for Northampton against the Ospreys on Sunday. Looking to push his way into the England starting line-up this November, the 24-year-old made fourteen tackles in the game - most of those driving back Ospreys players - while his work around the field was impressive. Afterwards director of rugby Jim Mallinder said his performance was "sensational" ... we'd go along with that.


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Mike Phillips, Dwayne Haare and Stephen Brett: We await the verdict from Bayonne but we wouldn't be surprised if Mike Phillips is fired. Most rugby players enjoy a few beers after a win, which is all very well, but once again Phillips has overstepped the bounds of what is acceptable for a professional sportsman.

Footloose Bismarck du Plessis: How on earth Advocate André Oosthuizen found that BdP's contact with Cheetahs flank Lappies Labuschagne was "accidental" is a mystery to us. You can only wonder what Oosthuizen's finding might have been had the hearing not been a few days before the Currie Cup Final. Judge for yourself here.

Zebre:Thrashed at home to Connacht, it looks like the team disguised as lion food are set for another winless campaign. It's becoming harder and harder to justify their place in the top tier of European competition.

Griquas: They may have claimed a narrow win over the Pumas in last Friday's Currie-Cup promotion/relegation showdown but tactics from the home side in Kimberley were pretty poor. Turning down five kickable penalties in the first half of a play-off is suicidal. A two-point head-start in this week's return fixture in Nelspruit might not be enough...

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
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RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs Edinburgh19:05
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Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
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Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
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RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 10 - 20 Ospreys
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
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RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
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Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
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RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
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Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
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Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058