Planet Rugby

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

27th July 2014 16:59


HOT or NOT feature image

Hot: Blitzbokke - Not: Brumbies

It's time for Planet Rugby's 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!

Blitzbokke: Coach Neil Powell and his charges made history when they were crowned Sevens champions at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Their win over New Zealand denied the Kiwis a fifth successive Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and in the process handed the men in black their first ever defeat - after 30 straight victories - since Sevens was introduced at the Games in 1998.

Michael Hooper: Michael Cheika doesn't throw out praise half-heartedly, but he lavished it on his 22-year-old skipper following another top outing against the Brumbies. Hooper has a disregard for his own well-being that makes fans love him the world over. He's tenacious.

Kieran Read: The IRB Player of the Year doesn't need any more accolades, but his side-stepping en-route to the Crusaders' first try was out of the top drawer. His run around Paul Jordaan left the Sharks chasing the game. Read just makes it look so easy.

Will Skelton: A 25-minute cameo to cherish. Skelton's contribution physically was immense with the 'Tahs camped on their own line, but it was his carry and pass to set up Bernard Foley's try which underlined something we've known now for a while - he's a very special talent. What an impact player.

Waratahs defence: We've rightly praised the Waratahs' thrilling attacking play this season, but their defence deserves recognition. The fewest points conceded during the regular season, the 'Tahs held the Brumbies to just eight on Saturday, although that was aided by the visitors' questionable decision-making.'s cold!

Frans Steyn: Where has he gone? Semi-finals are meant to bring the best out of key players - just look at Read, McCaw, Foley, Hooper... Yet Steyn, part of the kicking malaise that gifted the Crusaders possession and saw the Sharks shoot themselves in the foot, was nowhere to be found. He needed to be influential and just wasn't. Disappointing, but also concerning for his career going forward. Can he still dictate and produce something special?

Sharks execution: Unpleasant to watch. Steyn along with Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie and SP Marais all had the moments with the boot where they couldn't find their mark. It would be generous to say the Sharks executed at 50 percent, as their season died in Christchurch with a whimper.

Brumbies tactics: Infuriating. The Brumbies gambled on four different occasions by turning down kicks at goal and were successful only once - with Henry Speight's try coming after their third penalty in the Waratahs' 22. Having confidence in a set-piece is good, but when it fails time and again forcing the issue solves nothing. The 'Tahs let nothing through, while the Brumbies could have applied greater pressure on the scoreboard.

Wales Sevens: Sporting failure against the big SANZAR trio is nothing new, and so continues the agony for Wales in Glasgow. Having butchered a 3-on-1 (really it was a 3-on-0 given the last defender slipped), Pame Fou of Australia then broke Welsh hearts by knocking them out after the hooter. The same old story.

England Sevens: Simon Amor might be proud of England but there were bullied at the breakdown by Samoa and Australia, consequently crashing out in the quarter-finals in Glasgow. A team that's regressing rather than moving forward.

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Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
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Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
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