Planet Rugby

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

02nd October 2012 15:33

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Cory Jane and Mike Phillips

Champions: New Zealand

It is time for Planet Rugby's weekly wrap of who has their name in lights right now...and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons...

They're smokin'!

Ulster and Connacht: It truly was a remarkable performance from the Ravenhill outfit down in Cardiff on Friday as they returned to PRO12 action for the first time since the unfortunate death of team-mate Nevin Spence. With the initials NS on the shirts, Ulster put in their best showing for some time as tries from Michael Allen, Nick Williams (2), Tommy Bowe (2), Jared Payne and Andrew Trimble saw them prevail 48-19. That same night, Connacht recorded a 34-6 bonus-point win over Heineken Cup champions Leinster in Galway. It was a five-try, five-star effort.

All Blacks: A mention first of all for hat-trick man Cory Jane and the impressive Kieran Read but this inclusion is more for the collective. New Zealand claimed the inaugural Rugby Championship title in La Plata over the weekend in some style with a fine win in Argentina. No doubt they celebrated the success but now, can they finish the job in Soweto for a six from six record. It promises to be some event, with South Africa eager to crash the party.

Bryan Habana: Put simply, it was an outstanding performance from the veteran. While critics have been quick to slam the Springboks in the past, Habana has never given up trying to lift his side. He made nine runs for 117 metres at his former home ground on Saturday and was fully deserving of his hat-trick. It is set to come down to a straight shootout with Cory Jane (5) and Habana (6) in Johannesburg for who tops the Rugby Championship try tally.

Canterbury: Not a bad day at the office was it. 84 points, twelve tries and a big fat zero by the side of Southland on the scorecard on Sunday. Johnny McNicholl scored a hat-trick, Telusa Veainu and Paea Fa'anunu picked up two while there was one score apiece for Willi Heinz, Robbie Fruean, Adam Whitelock, Nasi Manu and George Whitelock. Meanwhile, Tom Taylor kicked all twelve conversions in a victory that sent a warning to their ITM Cup play-off rivals.


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Mike Phillips and Cedric Heymans: The Bayonne duo received suspensions for what was described by club president Alain Afflelou as "unacceptable off-field behaviour" after their loss to Toulouse. Heymans' indiscretion was a surprise but Phillips was also suspended by Wales last year when he misbehaved during a late-night incident in Cardiff outside a fast food restaurant. The Welshman's suspension has now been lifted but tut-tut Michael.

Sale: The Premiership's bottom-placed team's horror start continued when they suffered a 31-10 loss to Bath last weekend. That means that Bryan Redpath's men have now lost five successive matches and have gathered just one point from a potential 25 on offer already this season! Forwards coach Steve Scott became the sacrifical lamb when he was fired in the run-up to the Bath match and Sale CEO Steve Diamond has promised to replace him with someone "with a real proven track record at the highest level," by the end of the week. We await that appointment with anticipation. Next up, a home clash with Leicester Tigers.

Laser in La Plata: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen brushed it off as "no big deal" but shining a laser into a player's face while he is lining up a goal-kick is seriously uncool. New Zealand had already notched 50 points in their 54-14 success over the Pumas when an Argentine supporter shone the laser into Aaron Cruden's face but one can't help but wonder what Hansen's reaction would have been if his team held a narrow lead or were trailing matters.

Wallaby injury count: To say coach Robbie Deans was in charge of a depleted Wallabies side in their 31-8 loss to the Springboks in Pretoria would be an underestatement. Injury-ravaged is a term which best describes what Australia suffered in that Test. Adam Ashley-Cooper (concussion) and Berrick Barnes (chest), Tatafu Polota-Nau (head and shoulder), Digby Ioane (knee) and Radike Samo (shoulder) were all forced off the field on Saturday.

By Adam Kyriacou and David Skippers

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00