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

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Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
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Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954