Planet Rugby

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

11th August 2014 08:12

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Hot or not feature August 11 2014

Hot: Comeback hero Smith - Not: Misfiring Black Ferns

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!

Juan Smith: In February 2013 Smith announced his retirement from rugby because of a troublesome Achilles injury. On Wednesday, he was called up to the Springboks squad for the Rugby Championship after a sensational season in France for Toulon. We're yet to be entirely convinced about Heyneke Meyer's decision to use him at lock, but knowing Smith, he'll do a fine job there as well.

Western Province and Golden Lions: Both scored late tries to secure bonus points in their respective wins over the EP Kings and Blue Bulls to set the early pace in the Currie Cup. Points away from home are always crucial and WP will happy with their second half after blowing hot and cold before the break in Port Elizabeth. Meanwhile, in Jozi, the Lions were rewarded for their positive intent as they gave the Bulls a lesson in how to keep ball in hand.

Luke Watson: It's not often that a player on the losing team is named the Man of the Match, but the Kings skipper was well worth the award. But that's not why he makes the 'hot' section this week. Instead, we want to applaud the ex-Bok for his setting a positive example. Watson came within inches of scoring a try, only to have the ball knocked from his hands in the act of diving over. Rather than allowing everyone's time to be wasted with multiple TMO reviews, he told the ref he hadn't got it down, so they could get on with the game. Let's hope he starts a trend.

Women's World Cup semi-finalists: Hosts France will face Canada while Ireland will face England in the final four. A 13-all draw between England and Canada was enough to ensure they both progressed, knocking New Zealand out in the process. Ireland had earlier booked their place in the semis for the first time after they cruised past Kazakhstan 40-5. In the final game on Saturday, France faced their toughest test yet but eventually prevailed 17-3 against Australia to finish as the top qualifiers in the pool stages.

Gloucester: The Cherry and Whites wrapped up back-to-back Premiership Rugby 7s titles on Friday as they overcame the Dragons in the final with Steph Reynolds the standout performer.

Clermont, Lyon, Brive, Toulon: A perfect record in pre-season for these four outfits, with Clermont looking irresistible in convincing wins over Montpellier and Connacht as new fly-half Camille Lopez stood out in particular. Promoted Lyon picked up the scalp of Stade Français while Brive beat last year's runners-up Castres. Victories over Toulouse and Racing showed that Toulon are already in form, although an injury to Mamuka Gorgodze is a cause for concern.


Broken thermostat:

Sharks: There are no easy points to be gained in Kimberley these days but the Sharks will head home harbouring a few regrets after failing to pick up a full house, despite playing against 14 men for 73 minutes. In the end, they were relieved just to get the win. Credit to the Griquas for fighting to the death and earning a deserved losing bonus point.

Jonathan Kaplan: It's rare to hear refs or even ex-refs call out their fellow officials, but the uncomfortable truth is Kaplan's comments about officiating standards in Super Rugby - the TMOs especially - could well be warranted. Having said that, Craig Joubert and co. can't be too impressed at being undermined by a former colleague, and you can bet that Kaplan would not have enjoyed his performances being criticised in the same way during his own career.


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Black Ferns: They had not lost a World Cup game for 23 years, but defeat to Ireland in their second pool game was enough to see New Zealand knocked out of the Women's Rugby World Cup before the semi-finals. It represents the worst result in their history and means that, after four straight titles, someone else will now be crowned world champs.

SA Women: After losing their captain Mandisa Williams to a 16-week ban, for alleged eye gouging, and suffering a 26-3 defeat to Australia in their tournament opener, things have gone from bad to worse for the Springbok women's team. Coach Lawrence Sephaka's charges suffered a 55-3 loss to hosts France in their second match before Wales thrashed them 35-3 in their final pool game at the weekend. That means they have amassed a paltry nine points throughout the tournament and conceded 116 points in the process.

Parisian Clubs: Four pre-season matches, no wins. It doesn't make for pretty reading for Stade Français and Racing-Métro. If the latter will not be too worried by a hard-fought defeat to Toulon in their second pre-season game, there will be greater concern for Gonzalo Quesada's men. A hammering from Castres was followed up with a 24-14 loss to ProD2 champions Lyon. After finishing last season with just one win from their last seven matches in all competitions, is it time to worry?

Philippe Saint-André: Things don't get any better for the beleaguered French coach with the arrival of Serge Blanco in a more hands-on role with the national team. Whether the man who oversaw Biarritz's relegation is the person to babysit Saint-André and turn things around for France, remains to be seen, however. It does seem that Blanco will use his influence to stop Rory Kockott getting called up in November.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821