Planet Rugby

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

02nd October 2012 15:33

Share:

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
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
Sunday , April 27
Toulon vs Munster15:30
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs Edinburgh19:05
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
Sunday , April 27
Wasps vs Bath13:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 10 - 20 Ospreys
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058