Planet Rugby

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

25th June 2013 14:08

Share:

Hot and Not for June 25

Hot: North .. Not: Beale

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

They're on fire!

British and Irish Lions: It was touch and go but, as coach Warren Gatland said in the aftermath, only the result counts. The Lions secured victory in what was an absorbing first Test in Brisbane. Now comes the part the class of 2001 could not manage, winning the all-important second match that would seal a first series win since 1997.

Fiji: Pacific Nations Cup champions for the first time. Congratulations Fiji for triumphing in one of the toughest tournament schedules in rugby.

All Blacks: 3-0 over France, holding Les Bleus try-less in the last two Tests and scoring some scorchers from their own half. The fact they have three world-class fly-halves is such a plus point for head coach Steve Hansen. Speaking of which, it was utility back Beauden Barrett's day last Saturday as he came on to score in successive games - but what made this try more special was that it was in front of his New Plymouth supporters.

George North and Israel Folau: They made our XV of the Week after superb showings for the Lions and Australia respectively. They were that good however that they get in here too.

Springboks: The breakdown seems sorted out with Francois Louw in the mix and the backs are starting to gel too. Willie le Roux has been a breath of fresh air and JJ Engelbrecht has done a lot to silence his critics too. The real test comes in the Rugby Championship but from what we have seen, if they can keep Louw, Le Roux and Eben Etzebeth fit - with Adriaan Strauss and Bismarck du Plessis being rotated - they will be tough to beat.

England U20: Once again the Junior World Championship was a credit to rugby. The stars of tomorrow - some from today - played superbly throughout but it was England who lifted the crown, beating Wales 23-15 in the final. Led by the strong Jack Clifford, Nick Walshe's men fought back from 3-15 down to sink their northern hemisphere rivals. Hats off to Wales too though as the pair played out the first NH final in Junior World Championship history.

Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers: The first Bok to reach 50 Test tries, Habana adds another accolade to his honours list. In the words of his skipper, "to score 50 tries in a career at any level is great, but to score 50 for your country is outstanding." Habana is now fifth on the all-time list. A shout out too for JDV, who put his body on the line (again) and never let his good humour fail him, even when Alesana Tuilagi tried to decapitate him. The Bok skipper also came up with the quote of the week: "Adriaan Strauss played his balls off."

Scott Johnson: You can always count on Scotland's new boss to tell it like it is. His honest assessment after their narrow win over Italy was to suggest the Scots are on the right path: "We're happy with the result, but need to be honest and acknowledge we didn't play well."

Rémi Talès: Of the three French fly-halves used on tour, the Castres pivot looked the sharpest. The question now is, will he be allowed more time in the jersey to prove his worth? We feel it's time France stopped tinkering and settled on a XV moving forward.


Broken Thermostat:

Samoa coach Stephen Betham: Fair play to Betham for condemning some of the dodgy stuff that marred Samoa's performance at Loftus as the islanders vented their "frustration". Betham's influence has gone a long way to cleaning up the reckless nature of past teams but apparently there's still work to be done to change the culture, which is Betham's responsibility. Good reputations are hard to gain, bad reps are even harder to shake.

Vacation Lions call-ups: A delicate subject but one that has surfaced once again. Back in 2001, Scotland scrum-half Andy Nichol was in Australia on holiday when he received a Lions call-up that saw him make the bench for the third Test. Fast forward 12 years and Tom Court was Down Under when the Lions came calling. We are not questioning Nichol or Court's capabilities but rather if in 2017 we are set to see a few British and Irish players wandering around Auckland with their phones on loud. It's probably worth the trip.


Brrrr....someone turn the heater up

Baby Blacks: Whatever the format you expect great success from New Zealand teams, so to see the 2013 crop of Baby Blacks fail to reach the IRB Junior World Championship Final for the first time was an oddity. Instead of aiming to lift the trophy again on Sunday, they lost the third-placed play-off to the Baby Boks.

Kurtley Beale: Had two chances to win the game for Wallabies. Missed both. Not. Hot. 

Digby Ioane: Off-field issues continue to plague Wallabies. Even if it hadn't been for an untimely injury, it seems likely that the Reds flyer would have missed the second Lions Test anyway after failing to pitch up for a court appearance. Being a professional sportsman does not mean you are no longer required to adhere to the rules of society. Grow up.

Samoa: After all that hype and a promising start to their June tour, Samoa's display in Pretoria was disappointing to say the least. Far too indisciplined as their frustration grew at the breakdown, thanks to the work of Francois Louw, the distasteful incident involving James So'oialo and Alesana Tuilagi's red card left a sour taste after two strong wins over Italy and Scotland.

Italy: Winless in June, Azzurri coach Jacques Brunel admitted they took a step back after doing well in Six Nations. They spent all three weeks in Durban, and sometimes it really did appear like they were on holiday.

Bulls: The mass exodus out of Loftus continues  - Steyn, Vermaak, Chiliboy, Olivier, Kirchner, Steenkamp, J.Kruger, Pogieter x 2 ...all gone.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:00
Toulouse vs Stade Francais18:00
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Grenoble18:00
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411