Planet Rugby

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

16th April 2013 11:28

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Hot hot april 16 2013

Hot: Jean de Villiers; Ice-cold: England's new Sevens kit

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

They're on fire!

Jake White and his Brumbies: Jake the Snake has done a marvellous job of silencing his critics over the past two years. Those who suggested his success in 2007 was due more to the Boks' favourable World Cup draw and the fantastic squad at his disposal than his coaching ability have been made to eat their words. White took over a team that finished 13th in 2011 and has turned them into table-toppers. Hard to argue with that.

Jean de Villiers: The Stormers and Springbok captain produced his best performance of the year against the Sharks on Saturday, highlighted by a wonderful offload to create a try for Juan de Jongh. Even in the heat of an intense battle, JDV managed to maintain his sense of humour. When ask what he wanted to do with a penalty near the Sharks line, he replied with a wry smile: "I'd like to take a quick tap-and-go but I suppose I'd better take the points."

Ugo Monye: The former Lions wing was the toast of Quins fans at the Stoop this weekend as the defending Premiership champions got back on the horse after a tough month. What better way to celebrate your birthday than coming off the bench to score the try that seals victory and ends a four-game losing streak?

Ulster and Leinster: There is no sweeter victory for Leinster fans than success on the road to Munster and Saturday's win at Thomond Park means hosting a semi-final at the RDS is now very much on the cards. Up in Belfast, Ulster bounced back from elimination from the Heineken Cup by scoring four tries to move top in the PRO12 standings.

Oyonnax: It's taken 104 years, but Oyonnax (a town of just 23,000) have won promotion to the Top 14 for the first time. 20 points clear of their nearest rivals (La Rochelle) with four rounds left, the ProD2 title is in the bag.

Quade Cooper: Just days after being left out of the Wallaby squad, QC reminded Robbie Deans of his ability to unlocked defences with a brilliant display against the Super Rugby champions. According to our recent poll, the vast majority of Planet Rugby readers believe the Reds pivot is too good to be ignored. Will he be able to kiss and make up with the national coach? Don't bet your house on it.

Kings: After coming from behind to draw with the Brumbies two weeks ago, the Kings went one better by beating the Rebels thanks to a last-gasp drop-goal from pivot Demetri Catrakilis. It was the tournament newbies' first win overseas and their second against Australian opposition in 2013. Raise your hand if you're still not convinced they belong in the competition...

Force: The Force produced their best defensive effort of the season - pulling off a series of try-saving tackles - to see off the Crusaders in Perth. The result saw Michael Foley's troops jump off the bottom of the Australian conference just one week after being humbled at home by the lowly Rebels.

David Strettle: The England wing scored the fastest treble in Premiership history when he touched down three times in the opening 22 minutes of Saracens' 30-point drubbing of Worcester. The win clinched a home semi-final for the Premiership leaders just a week after their Heineken Cup quarter-final success over Ulster.

The thermostat's broken.

Paul O'Connell's foot v Dave Kearney's head: It's pretty obvious that there was no malicious intent in POC's hack at the loose ball, but it was rather imprudent. It was clearly an accident but was it reckless enough to warrant a citing? We're not sure.

Bok jersey: The Boks tell us they've done away with all the rubbery bits on their jerseys that were intended to aid ball carrying because they turned out to help opposition tacklers and scrummagers get a better grip more than anything else. The team at PR headquarters are divided on the 'new' design. Boring or classic?

Bbbrrr....someone turn the heater up!

England's new 7's kit: Planet Rugby's Not-Hot-O-Meter has been sent in for recalibration after England's new mega-pixel disaster sent readings off the scales. To think someone got paid real money to 'design' that monstrosity...

London Welsh: Thanks for coming. Hope to see you again soon, but it might be a while. It's always sad to see a team punished on the field for mistakes made off it. The true costs of 'Passportgate' are only now being felt.

Agen: Already relegated from the Top 14, Agen have nothing left to play for, which is good news for Perpignan and Toulon, their opposition in the last two rounds.

Perth streakers: Referee Jonathan Kaplan was forced to stop play when five pitch invaders - believed to be Crusaders supporters - made their way onto the ground at Perth's nib Stadium when the Force were leading the Crusaders by two points in the 75th minute. One was tackled by centre Ryan Crotty, while a Crusaders' medical officer brought down a separate offender. One offender has been charged with trespassing while others have been summoned to appear before the Perth Magistrates Court. Each offender has also received a five-year ban from the venue.

Highlanders: Seven played, seven lost... will we be seeing the winless Highlanders here again next week?

By Ross Hastie and Dave Morris

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