Planet Rugby

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

21st December 2011 11:04

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Hot or not feature dec 12

Hot stuff: Mrs-Foden-to-be... Not so much: gardening during the game

It's time for our weekly wrap up of who needs an ice-cold beer and who should head to the shops for a new jumper!

Sssssssizzling...

Munster: With four rounds of the Heineken Cup done and dusted, the two-time champions are the only side with a perfect record of four wins. It hasn't exactly been flash rugby - it seldom is from the Munstermen - but they certainly know how to get the job done.

Leinster: Many pundits' pick for another European crown, the defending champions showed their class with a seven-try demolition of Bath last weekend. Three wins, a draw and a couple of bonus points have left the Dublin side equal with Munster on 16 points in the race to the top ranking for the play-offs.

Stade Franšais: After a horrible start to the term which saw the Parisian club struggle to get going after a major overhaul during the offseason, the men in pink are starting to find their mojo. A sixth consecutive win in all competitions is on the cards against floundering Biarritz on Friday.

Mike Brown: The Harlequins full-back has become a try machine this season. After touching down against Toulouse at the Stoop, he went one better by bagging a brace in that unforgettable return match in France on Sunday.

Milton Haig, Kingsley Jones and Eddie Jones: Counties Manukau coach Milton Haig has been appointed head coach of Georgia's ever-improving national team. Former Sale head honcho Kingsley Jones is the new boss of Russia's Bears while former Wallaby coach Eddie Jones is set to be appointed to the hot seat in Japan. Kudos to all three.

Premiership fans: Despite all the bad press surrounding the RFU and the England team, fans at club level in England are enjoying the game more than ever. A ten percent rise in attendance figures = good news for everyone.

The future Mrs. Ben Foden: We make a point of staying far away from 'celebrity news' but we'll make an exception this week because Una Healy ( she's a singer from 'The Saturdays') recently announced that she's engaged to England full-back Ben Foden. She's hot. Lucky fella....


Brr...someone turn the heater on!

Harlequins' touchline antics: More than any other club, you would have thought that Harlequins would make a special effort to stay out of unnecessary trouble on the sidelines. It's rare in rugby to see the ref have to reprimand a member of the technical staff or a player on the bench but twice in Toulouse Alain Rolland was called into action because members of the Quins contingent purposefully touched to ball to prevent the home side from taking a quick line-out. It's not exactly Bloodgate but it's definitely not sportsmanlike and Will Skinner's red card is likely to be followed up by more punishment.

The Stadium de Toulouse pitch: The problem with playing rugby games in soccer stadiums is that, unlike the prancing fairies that play the round-ball game, scrums tend to give the surface a good working over. Instead of being forced to bring on a gaggle of gardeners every ten minutes to do running repairs, we suggest that the groundsmen at le Stadium allow the grass grow a little longer and a little tougher.

Jerome Garces: It's our policy to avoid badmouthing referees but it was hard not to be frustrated by Monsieur Garces's performance at Liberty Stadium last Friday. Both coaches were very vocal about how the scrum turned into a bit of a farce and he struggled to communicate with the captains. It might seem like a harsh call considering most English-speaking refs couldn't give you time of day in French, but the problem seemed to lie less with his language skills (which are commendable) but the way he used them.

Castres: Fans of French rugby were left pulling their hair out by Toulouse's loss on Sunday but almost more frustrating was the way Castres approached their game in Northampton. Despite having given Saints a good hiding the week before, les Tarnais seemed to have given up hope of qualifying for the quarter-finals so sent a below strength side to England and were handed a 45-0 drubbing. C'est agašant...

Aironi: Unlike Treviso, Aironi just can't get it together this season. They've won just a single game in 14 starts in all competitions and their points column in Heineken Cup Pool Four shows a big fat 'zero.'

Connacht: The newcomers have found live tough in Europe's top flight and are yet to pick up a win. The Irish side are putting up a good fight but aren't getting the results. Back in the Pro12 this weekend they head to Thomond Park - where they have not won since 1986 - off the back of a ten-match losing streak in all competitions. Tough times.

Compiled by Ross Hastie

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
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Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
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 Toulon20:45
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
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Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
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Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
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ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
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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
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Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
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Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
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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
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ITM Cup
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
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411