Planet Rugby

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

19th February 2013 10:45

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Danny Care and Dan Evans for Hot and Not

Good and bad: Quins and Dragons

It's time for our wrap of who has their name in lights at the moment ... and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons in rugby this week.

They're on fire!

Guy Novès: Toulouse's head honcho racked up his 1000th game with the Top 14 side at the weekend. Two thirds of those games have been either as coach or manager while the rest were as a player. It's a pity his men couldn't give him the perfect gift - a win - to celebrate the milestone, after they suffered a home defeat to Perpignan.

Toulon: The Top 14 table-toppers put last weekend's embarrassing 41-0 defeat to Bordeaux-Bègles behind them, bouncing back with a convincing triumph over Montpellier. Coach Bernard Laporte read his troops the riot act after that loss and they certainly responded in emphatic style. Signs of champions in the making? Time will tell.

Harlequins: Like Toulon, Conor O'Shea's men are back in the saddle after going down to Wasps ten days ago. The defending Aviva Premiership champions went top of the table after edging out fellow title contenders Leicester, with Danny Care leading the charge.

Rebels and Brumbies: Super Rugby is back and after the opening round of action it's the Melbourne and Canberra-based teams that have bragging rights after notching deserved derby victories over the Western Force and Reds respectively.

Sale Sharks: Boy did they need that win. Victory over London Welsh puts the Sharks just one point behind London Irish and three off the Welsh. Suddenly things look promising ahead of facing a Quins XV without Care, Mike Brown, Joe Marler and Chris Robshaw...


Brrrrr....it's cold in here!

Scott Higginbotham: The Rebels' star signing's competitive debut for his new franchise will be one he will want to forget in a hurry. Despite his side's win, the Wallaby back-rower received a yellow card for striking an opponent midway through the first-half and he was also caught on camera shoving a ball-boy, in an attempt to take a quick line-out throw.

Reds: In 2012 the men from Queensland grabbed a last ditch opening day victory over the Waratahs in Sydney but this season things began in much more sobering fashion. Defeat to the Brumbies was rarely in doubt as the Reds could not match their opponent, who exacted revenge for not making the play-offs last season. The Reds sorely missed injured captain James Horwill while there is a spark lacking in the three-quarters. We know they're only one game in but the signs of knockout rugby don't look good for Ewen McKenzie's side. Next up is the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium in what is a huge derby game that whets the appetite.

Dragons: There are hidings and there are hidings, with the Dragons feeling the full force of Glasgow Warriors on Saturday. 8 tries and 60 points were put past the Welsh region on their home patch in a result that sees their points difference move to -157. This result came on the back of three straight victories - against the Ospreys, London Welsh and Treviso - with the Dragons' next game seeing them travel to Parma where they face Zebre. This question now is whether the Italians can record their first ever RaboDirect PRO12 win?

Ardie Savea: The promising flanker was dealt a blow even before a ball has been kicked at Westpac Stadium when he was suspended for four weeks after making a dangerous tackle on Augustine Pulu. What a shame we won't get to see this talent in Super Rugby for another month as big things are expected of the 19-year-old. Hopefully his indiscretion is just a blip on a long and fruitful career for both the Hurricanes and possibly the All Blacks.

By David Skippers and Adam Kyriacou

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