Planet Rugby

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

23rd October 2012 12:11

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Leicester and Scott Higginbotham for Hot and Not

What a finish: Leicester Tigers

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'!

Australia: Expected to be a simple walk-over for a full-strength New Zealand outfit looking to move to within just one victory of Lithuania, a spare-parts Wallabies side - missing many of their leading stars through injury - ended the All Blacks' 16-Test winning streak with an honourable 18-18 draw.

The Sharks and Western Province: The two teams will battle it out in this year's Currie Cup final after wildly contrasting semi-final victories over the Blue Bulls and Golden Lions respectively. Sharks fly-half Pat Lambie turned in a second man-of-the-match performance in as many weeks to help his side to a 20-3 win in Durban in a match played on a rain-drenched pitch. And at Coca-Cola Park, Lions pivot Elton Jantjies kicked what seemed like a match-winning penalty with 90 seconds remaining - only for WP to maul flank Deon Fourie over the line on the hooter to seal a famous win.

Canterbury and Auckland: Christchurch will play host to the 2012 ITM Cup final after Canterbury and Auckland saw off Taranaki and Wellington in their respective semis. The Canterbury crowd were treated to one of the most entertaining games of domestic rugby in recent history, when their team prevailed 51-27 after extra-time to edge them closer to becoming the first team to win five consecutive ITM Cup titles. Trailing 22-14 late in the game, three quick-fire tries in the final 23 minutes saw Auckland storm home to book themselves a place in the grand finale for the first time since 2007.

Leicester v Ospreys: Leicester secured an unlikely bonus-point triumph with a blistering onslaught of 20 points in the last 18 minutes to leave the Ospreys shell-shocked during a pulsating Heineken Cup encounter at Welford Road. A fantastic advert for European rugby.

Saracens, Toulouse, Harlequins, Ulster, Clermont, Leinster, Toulon: All of these teams remain unbeaten after two rounds of the Heineken Cup and top their respective pools with the exception of Leinster, who occupy second spot in Pool Five below Clermont.


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Scott Higginbotham: We thought we saw the dumbest act of the season when Dean Greyling smashed his forearm into Richie McCaw's face during the All Blacks win over the Springboks in Dunedin earlier this year. Well, Higginbotham's acts of thuggery on the All Blacks captain in Brisbane last week certainly gives the Greyling incident a run for its money. The Wallaby has subsequently received a two-Test ban for his actions.

Steve Hansen: Talk about the wrong time to give an answer to this sort of question. Your team has just missed out on continuing their fine winning run and then coach Hansen decides to land a dig at the Australian rugby setup for its apparent "poaching" tactics. Maybe the heat of the moment got to the All Blacks boss but next time we are sure he will send those sort of questions back at the respective journalist with a straight bat and straight face.

Blue Bulls: The less said about the men from Pretoria's display in their Currie Cup semi-final loss to the Sharks the better. From the outset they struggled to get going and hardly threatened to score points. Their misery was compounded when Springbok fly-half Morne Steyn and young prop Morne Mellett were cited for alleged foul play. Time to regroup.

Situation at Sale: It is difficult not to feel sorry for Bryan Redpath as John Mitchell's arrival most probably ousts him from Sale's hot seat. Whatever the club may say about the Scot's position not changing, it is difficult to see a coach like Mitchell playing second fiddle at the Sharks. Mitchell has today been talking about the possibility of bringing in Brian Ashton to help improve Danny Cipriani as a player but also said "the team can only have one leader" and he (Redpath) is "employed to be a leader". Mixed messages in our eyes we feel and unfortunately also for Redpath, who seems to have handled the exit of Steve Scott and now the Mitchell's arrival with real class. On the positive side, their performances are improving.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Castres vs BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Preview
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs SharksPumas vs Sharks Preview
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Preview
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Preview
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Thursday , September 4
Otago vs Canterbury19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Friday , August 29
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
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00