Planet Rugby

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

20th March 2013 14:28

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Hot and Not for March 20

Wales were red hot!

It is time to look at who has their name in lights right now...and who is making headlines for the wrong reasons.

They're on fire!

Wales: First on our list and rightly so. Wales were excellent in Cardiff as they took the Six Nations and Grand Slam away from rivals England. Alex Cuthbert's brace stole the show but man for man - except for possibly Geoff Parling - the hosts were a good distance ahead of their opposite number.

Super wings: So many finishers to applaud after Tom Marshall impressed on the right side for the Crusaders while left wing Johnny McNicholl scored his first Super Rugby try. But three names rose above them all as hat-trick man Lelia Masaga, the line-busting Hosea Gear and Cheetahs wing Raymond Rhule stole the show. A mention also needs extending to the Brumbies duo Henry Speight and Joe Tomane while Peter Betham was good for the 'Tahs.

Brumbies: And then there was one. The Canberra side recorded a 29-10 victory over the Sharks in Durban to make them the last remaining unbeaten side in Super Rugby. It also takes them ten points clear of nearest conference rival the Reds. Other mentions from last week go the way of the Cheetahs, who won in Sydney, the Crusaders for their impressive showing against the Bulls, and the Force for picking up their first ever win in Brisbane.

Italy: The sight of Jacques Brunel punching the air at full-time proves just how much home wins over France and Ireland means to the Azzurri head coach. Two wins shows Italy are now set to become a consistent force to be reckoned with in the Six Nations but we guess the real test comes on the road as next year they travel to Dublin, Paris and Cardiff. But credit where credit is due, their win over the Irish was well deserved at the Stadio Olimpico.

Harlequins: Conor O'Shea's young guns once again proved their worth with a performance that saw them lift the LV= Cup. Star performers against Sale Sharks were Tom Guest and Tom Casson while Tom Williams and Luke Wallace joined that duo in crossing the line. With the trophy safely stored away in the cabinet, O'Shea will now turn his attention to their Aviva Premiership run-in and of course that Heineken Cup quarter-final against Munster.


Bbbrrr....someone turn the heater up!

Kings: The Port Elizabeth-based franchise's decision to include more foreign players than SARU's allotted quota is 'cheeky' to say the least. After SARU rejected their bid to field extra foreigners earlier this year, the Kings went ahead and used Hadleigh Parkes, Tomās Leonardi and Nicolas Vergallo on Friday. The aftermath has seen Kings boss Cheeky Watson announce that Leonardi and Virgile Lacombe would be flying back from Australasia and have been replaced in the touring squad by Edgar Marutlulle and Devin Oosthuizen.

England: Despite being on the wrong end of some questionable calls at the scrums from Australian referee Steve Walsh, Stuart Lancaster's side will have to do some introspection after they wasted a golden opportunity to claim their first Grand Slam in ten years. Instead of going all out for victory, they retreated into their shells and came off second best to a more determined and hungrier Welsh unit, who in the end cantered to the Six Nations title.

Highlanders: Although Gear's form has been impressive, the Dunedin-based franchise is yet to win a game after three attempts. They were amongst the early favourites to win the Super Rugby title after adding some experienced heads to their squad. However, little has gone right for Jamie Joseph's troops, who now face another tricky assignment at the Chiefs.

Ireland: Defeat to Italy in their final Six Nations match has seen the men in green plummet to new lows in the IRB World Rankings. Furthermore, the writing appears to be on the wall for coach Declan Kidney after his side's poor overall performance in the tournament.

Johan Goosen and Berrick Barnes: The Cheetahs and Waratahs playmakers' horrific run of injuries continues. Goosen has been seeing more of the Cheetahs doctor than his on-field team-mates in recent months after sustaining his third major injury in less than a year. Barnes, who played his first match of the season for the Waratahs, lasted all of 17 minutes.

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