Planet Rugby

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

11th December 2012 13:23

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Hot: Baker - Not: Farrell

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

They're on fire!

Ulster: Extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 13 matches with a convincing 25-6 away win against Northampton in the Heineken Cup. This gives them a six-point lead at the top of Pool Four.

New Zealand Sevens: Gordon Tietjens' side made history when they won the Port Elizabeth leg of the Sevens World Series to become the first side to win the same leg of the competition for a fourth consecutive time. No other team has achieved this feat since the tournament started in 1999.

Clermont: Extended their unbeaten home record to 51 matches with a narrow victory over defending champions Leinster. What made their win extra special is that it also ended Leinster's 17-match unbeaten record in the Heineken Cup.

Kurt Baker: Made his return to the Sevens circuit - after an absence of nearly three years - in fine style by leading New Zealand's charge at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Baker scored eight tries in Port Elizabeth, including two hat-tricks on finals day.

Jared Payne: Put in a top-class display in Ulster's win over Northampton. Payne was at the heart of Ulster's attacking play and apart from scoring a try he also set one up for Tommy Bowe.

Harlequins: Scored eight tries in their 57-14 Heineken Cup victory over Zebre which has taken them six points clear of their nearest rivals at the top of Pool 3.

Connacht: The Irish province claimed the biggest upset of the weekend when they beat Biarritz 22-14 in their Heineken Cup tie. The victory moves them into second spot, behind Quins, in their pool.

Someone turn on the heater...!

Owen Farrell: The Saracens stalwart had a shocker from the kicking tee in his side's 15-9 Heineken Cup loss to Munster. Farrell missed four out of seven shots at goal which proved the difference between winning and losing in the end.

Northampton: Although Ulster delivered a superb performance, more was expected from the Saints who were playing at Franklin's Gardens. They hardly put up a fight and suffered an ignominious defeat in front of their home crowd.

England Sevens: Ben Ryan's team are usually amongst the frontrunners on the international Sevens circuit but they have been far from impressive this season. They are currently languishing in 13th position in the point standings behind minnows like the United States, Canada and Portugal.

Dan Carter: He might have won the IRB's Player of the Year award but DC is not hot in his homeland. This after he failed to make the shortlist for the New Zealand Rugby Union's Kel Tremain Memorial Player of the Year award.

Dylan Hartley: The Northampton and England hooker is in trouble after he was cited for allegedly striking Ulster's Rory Best in their Heineken Cup tie. Hartley is no stranger to disciplinary hearings and was banned for eight weeks after being cited for biting Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris during a Six Nations match earlier this year.

Sevens World Series organisers: The system being used for allocating teams places the top three teams from the previous tournament into pools A, B and C with the rest of the teams selected randomly from tiered bands. The results of this saw New Zealand being drawn in the same pool as traditional rivals Fiji and England in the Port Elizabeth tournament while hosts South Africa had Australia, Samoa and France to contend with. We have to agree with Tietjens who believes a seeding system using the current rankings as a barometer would be a fairer option.

By David Skippers

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
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Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs UlsterMunster vs Ulster Preview
Cardiff Blues vs TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Preview
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
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Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
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Recent Results
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
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International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
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Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
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International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
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International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
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Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
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International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821