Planet Rugby

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

06th November 2012 10:42

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Hot or Not

Hot: Sharpe - Not: Donald

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

They're smokin'!

Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen: The two Springbok speedsters were the big winners at the annual South African Rugby awards function. Habana won the much-coveted SA Player of the Year award and Pietersen walked off with the Players' Player of the year gong.

Nathan Sharpe: Australia also had their annual gala evening and the veteran lock made a cleansweep of all the major awards. Sharpe won the John Eales Medal, which is awarded to the player of the year, and also went home with trophies for Australia's Choice, Wallabies Player of the Year and the Spirit of Rugby awards.

Rory Kockott and Vincent Clerc: The Castres scrum-half is the Top 14's leading scorer with 158 points from 10 matches. An impressive feat when one considers he is ahead of seasoned internationals like Perpignan's James Hook and Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson. Toulouse wing Clerc is leading in the try-scoring stakes with six five-pointers after 10 games.

Tim Visser and Tom Varndell: The Edinburgh wing is on top of the PRO12 try-scoring charts with nine tries in eight matches while the Wasps flyer is setting the pace in the Premiership with seven touchdowns from eight games.

Sale Sharks: After losing their first seven Premiership fixtures and making headlines for shuffling their staff, the Sharks finally hit the victory trail with a 21-9 win over London Irish last weekend.

Freddie Burns and Billy Twelvetrees: The Gloucester duo were rewarded with late call-ups to England's squad for the upcoming internationals as replacements for Harlequins' Jordan Turner-Hall and London Irish's Jonathan Joseph who are battling with injuries.

Nick Scott: The London Welsh flyer was his team's hero when he intercepted a wayward pass from Bath's Stephen Donald to secure a 16-9 win for the Premiership newbies in the closing stages of their match.


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Northampton: After starting their Premiership campaign like a house on fire with five successive wins the wheels seem to be coming off for Jim Mallinder's charges who, after last weekend's 16-12 defeat to Leicester, have now lost four matches on the trot in all competitions.

Keegan Daniel: The Sharks skipper looked decidedly glum when accepting his award as South Africa's Super Rugby player of the year. Rumour has it he had his eye on a bigger award and having a bit of a sulk. With an attitude like like, it's no wonder he'll be in Durban this weekend instead of Dublin.

Mont de Marsan: To say that the Top 14 newcomers are finding it difficult to adjust to the rigours of France's leading domestic competition would be an understatement. After 10 matches played they are yet to win a game and are firmly entrenched at the bottom of the table with just two points.

Stephen Donald: Every Bath supporter must still be asking themselves what went through the World Cup winner's mind when he threw his outrageous cut-out pass against London Welsh. The teams were level at 9-9 at the time and even Bath director of rugby Gary Gold admitted afterwards that he was "astonished that anyone should throw such a ridiculous pass."

George Ford: Although Leicester managed to beat the Saints, the Tigers fly-half left his kicking boots at home, missing five penalties.

Fixture clashes: This weekend sees a full round of Top 14 matches taking place at the same time that the end-of-year internationals kick off. Likewise the weekend of 23 to 25 November has a full round of PRO12 and Premiership matches scheduled to take place. It's little wonder clubs are tempted to import players from south of the equator. Who wants to cough up the big bucks for an international star who won't always be available?

By David Skippers

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