Planet Rugby

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

21st May 2013 15:29

Share:

Hot or not feature may 21 2013

Not: Wilko - Not so much: Armitage

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

They're on fire!

Toulon: Love them or hate them, you can't deny that the new European champions have assembled a mightily impressive team. Long dismissed as nothing more than a rabble of mercenaries, the work ethic and fighting spirit in the side, embodied by the likes of Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, has left the critics eating their words. An elusive Euro-French double is now the challenge.

Cheetahs: No, it isn't a dream, the Cheetahs are still in the mix for a Super Rugby play-off berth. Last weekend's win over the Reds leaves the boys from Bloem 10 points clear of the Stormers - an amazing feat considering the massive difference in budgets. The best part about it is Naka Drotské's team are scoring bucketloads of tries along the way. All together now: Cheetaaaaaaaaaaaahs!

Israel Folau: The biggest thing to hit rugby since Sonny Bill? After just 11 matches in the 15-man code, the Waratahs full-back was named in the Wallabies' first 25-man squad for the Lions series on Sunday. Already a serious threat with ball in hand, the former League star gets better with every game.

Napolioni Nalaga: Clermont's try machine was the only player to play the maximum 720 minutes over the course of the Heineken Cup. His touchdown in the final also cemented his spot at the top of the try-scoring charts.

Julien Bonnaire and Kelly Brown: The Heineken Cup's top tacklers this term with 92 hits each. Brown only missed four in 617 minutes of game time while Bonnaire missed just six in 705 minutes.

Jonny Wilkinson: Toulon's favourite (adopted) son made it 17 successive kicks at goal in the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup as he continued his 100 percent success rate in the final. The European Player of the Year scored 56 of his side's 61 points in the wins over Leicester, Saracens and Clermont.

Sebastien Bruno: At 38 years, 8 months and 23 days, the Toulon hooker overtook Leinster's Brad Thorn as the oldest player to take home a Heineken Cup winners medal.

Brive: After a single season out of the top flight, Brive have won promotion back into the Top 14 - alongside Pro D2 league champions Oyonnax - after beating Pau 30-10 in their play-off last weekend.

Matt Giteau, Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw The Toulon trio joined the elite group of players to have won both Heineken Cup and Super Rugby titles, joining Rod Kafer, Doug Howlett and Brad Thorn.


Broken Thermostat:

Graham Henry's rant: We're normally first in line when it comes to jumping to the defence of match officials because publicly slamming referees is seldom a productive exercise and it isn't really in line with the ethos of the game. But when Sir Graham, who is normally pretty good at biting his tongue, starts venting steam like this, it's probably worth taking note. And to be fair, he makes a few solid points. The question now is, will he get away with it? Coaches and players have been disciplined for far less in the past.


Bbbrrr....someone turn the heater up!

Aussie scrum-halves: Robbie Deans obviously doesn't think much of the current crop of number nines Down Under after picking just one in his preliminary squad to face the Lions. Sure, Will Genia is probably the best player in the world in his position but he is, after all, just a human being, a species known to be susceptible to injuries when involved in high speed collisions with other human beings.

Clermont: Clermont finished the Heineken Cup with the best stats in almost every department. They scored two excellent tries in the final, in a wonderful display of attacking rugby after enjoying 68 percent possession and 75 percent territory. They also made 166 carries compared to Toulon's 66 and beat 24 defenders to Toulon's 9....but they lost. Losing finals, a Clermont specialty, is not hot. The difference between the sides in end? Tournament top points-scorer Morgan Parra's missed conversion.

Delon Armitage: In his own words, that wave at Brock James was "stupid" and left an unpleasant taste in the mouth after an otherwise great game of rugby.

Super Rugby TMOs: You would think that with a decent screen, proper footage, a variety of camera angles, and a law book nearby Television Match Officials would be able to make the right call almost all of the time. Evidently not... After another weekend of inexplicable decisions from the guys upstairs, we're going to join Super Rugby coaches like Michael Cheika, Dave Rennie, Graham Henry et al in venting our frustration. Unlike heat-of-the moment calls on the field, there should be no margin for error from experienced officials with multiple opportunities to view the evidence. Get it right!

Compiled by Ross Hastie

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Preview
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26