Planet Rugby

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

01st September 2014 07:48


Hot or Not Bobo and Thrush

Off the mark at last: La Rochelle - Troubling times: Wellington

It's 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.


Hawke's Bay: The Magpies took a team packed with Super Rugby experience, as well as Israel Dagg, to Counties Manukau for their Ranfurly Shield challenge. In the end though it was the only player in their backline without Super Rugby caps, former league player Ryan Tongia, who scored the decisive try a quarter of an hour from time. Their first defence will come in a fortnight against Otago who should provide a stern challenge.

Western Province: Four wins from four and a three-point lead atop the Currie Cup table, it's been the perfect start to the campaign for WP. Their devastating young back three of Seabelo Senatla, Cheslin Kolbe and Kobus van Wyk, are wreaking havoc with another great display to knock off the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld, and on this form Province look a cut above the rest of the competition.

La Rochelle: Pointless after two heavy away defeats, La Rochelle needed to turn things around for their first home game at the Stade Marcel Deflandre. Toulouse were in town, but that did not bother the Rochelais, who produced a stunning second-half performance to run out 37-25 winners. Alofa Alofa scored twice but it was a great team effort with the intensity up several notches from the previous games. More of the same please!

Welsh peace: It's been a long time coming and sparked more debate than Wales' last three Grand Slams combined, but an agreement finally seems to have been found between the WRU and RRW. We'll have to wait and see how long it lasts and whether the dual-contracts can bring back the top Welsh players, but anything that gets us talking about the rugby in the Principality has got to be a good thing.

Alipate Ratini: He made his name by intercepting Jonny Wilkinson to hand Toulon a shock home defeat in January, but Ratini is proving that he is more than a passing talent. An electric hat-trick against Bordeaux sent him to the top of the Top 14 scoring charts, and came hot on the heels of him comfortably getting the better of Rene Ranger. With pace to burn and great vision of the game, expect him to follow in the footsteps of Metuisela Talebula to finish as the league's top try-scorer.

Francois Trinh-Duc's Montpellier: Fulgence Ouedraogo might be captain again, but this is Trinh-Duc's team, and he stepped up in style on Friday night. With Benoit Paillaugue struggling, the talented fly-half took on the kicking duties, making everything from tricky angles to keep his side in touch. Then, when his pack had earned a shot to win it with just over a minute left, Trinh-Duc held his nerve from 45 metres out for a famous win at the Marcel Michelin. On this form even Philippe Saint-André can't ignore him. Can he?


Pro12 launch in London: We understand that title sponsors Guinness wanted to show off their fancy Diageo headquarters but is London really the ideal place for the launch of a Celtic and Italian league? We'd have thought that heading to one of the countries involved in the league might have made more sense, although the acid test for the rebranded competition will come this week when the action kicks off. Let's hope the new incentives with regards to European qualification and the increased television coverage, lead to a more competitive league.

Comedy duo of Mourad Boudjellal and Jacky Lorenzetti: The presidents of Toulon and Racing are certainly two of the game's characters, with the former never missing an opportunity to speak out about something. However there has been something rather childish about their latest spat in the build-up to Saturday's Top 14 clash. Surely they have better things to do with their time than take pot shots at each other in the press?


Wellington: Missing several key players who are either injured, with the All Blacks or left for pastures new, Wellington have found life extremely tough in the opening three games of the ITM Cup season. Losses to Waikato and Northland have been compounded by a second defeat to a Championship side as they went down to Manawatu at Westpac Stadium. This week they are at Auckland...a fourth loss seems likely.

Brive indiscipline: Yellow cards are part and parcel of the Top 14, with some referees handing out an average of nearly three cards a game, but even by those standards, Brive lost the plot on Saturday. On their way to a heavy defeat at promoted Lyon, Brive managed to pick up four yellow cards in the space of 21 minutes as the game descended into farce.

Bay of Plenty: The worst team in New Zealand? BoP have conceded an average of 43.6 points over their three games so far in the ITM Cup. Bleak viewing for their fans.

Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs SaracensBath vs Saracens Preview
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
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Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand17:05
Argentina vs Australia19:40
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff BluesConnacht vs Cardiff Blues Preview
Ulster vs EdinburghUlster vs Edinburgh Preview
Zebre vs OspreysZebre vs Ospreys Preview
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
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Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs ToulonOyonnax vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Sharks vs LionsSharks vs Lions Preview
Pumas vs Blue BullsPumas vs Blue Bulls Preview
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
All times are local
Thursday , October 2
Auckland 60 - 19 WaikatoAuckland vs Waikato Report
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table