Planet Rugby

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

20th August 2013 11:15


Ben Smith and Guy Noves for Hot and Not

Ben Smith (hot); Toulouse (not)

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

They're on fire!

All Blacks: 10-12 down on 27 minutes, New Zealand clicked into gear with two tries which showed the quality of this team. Then again on 57 minutes, when the score was 25-22 to the All Blacks, the visitors turned on the style with scores from Conrad and Ben Smith. Steve Hansen's side were simply a step above the Wallabies on Saturday as the return of Richie McCaw boosted their stocks. He scored his 20th Test try as the All Blacks opened the tournament with five points.

Springboks: That was impressive. While many of the Pumas are not up to international rugby pace due to the schedule of the European season, the Boks are definitely hitting their straps and showed that in Soweto on Saturday. Nine tries and 73 points were scored by the South Africans as Argentina crumbled. Bigger tests are to come for Heyneke Meyer's men, of course, as we all circle their September 14 and October 5 meetings with New Zealand.

Brumbies: The inaugural World Club Sevens at Twickenham saw an entertaining final contested between the Brumbies and Auckland, who had beaten Buenos Aires and Harlequins in their respective semi-finals. Henry Speight was the hero for the Canberra side as he grabbed a last-gasp five-pointer to seal a 17-14 win as the party began. The televised tournament was a success and hopefully it goes from strength to strength over the years.

Ben Smith: A hat-trick for the Highlander, who we have yet to see have a bad day at the office for franchise or country. Took his tries very well over the weekend as he continues to impress for New Zealand and we wouldn't bet against him adding to his tally in Wellington.

Canterbury and Wellington: Favourite and second favourite for the title pre-tournament, Canterbury and Wellington opened their ITM Cup campaigns exceptionally well on Friday and Thursday respectively. The Lions eased away from newly-promoted Counties-Manukau by 55 points to 16 while the Cantabs thumped a Beauden Barrett-less Taranaki with a 30-6 win. Canterbury seem set to dominate the competition this year though as, even without the likes of Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Kieran Read, their depth is so good it's laughable. A mention for the two Whitelocks on show, Adam and Luke, who were exceptional.

Broken thermo: The new scrum laws have largely been a success so far as a reduction in the hit - through binding before impact - has led to greater technical ability coming to the fore. Of course the jury is still out at this early stage but from last week, we're happy.

Someone turn up the heater!

Toulouse: Not the start Guy Noves and his men were after as they lost 31-25 at Bordeaux. While Saturday's winners are no mugs and caused a few teams problems last season, Toulouse's team possessed heaps of quality that included Luke McAlister, Thierry Dusautoir and Louis Picamoles so the loss definitely came as a shock. The battle for a top six spot could be tough for Toulouse this year and they'll hope to respond against Bayonne.

Blue Bulls and Griquas: "It was very bad. I think it must be one of the worst games I've watched, as a spectator or as a coach," said Griquas head coach Pote Human after his side's 15-9 defeat to the Blue Bulls. A pretty damning indictment we're sure you'll agree as the quality of Currie Cup rugby continues to worry South African rugby fans. While the ITM Cup demonstrates an attack-minded and skilful brand, the Republic's competition does not.

Trevor Nyakane: Not a great week for the prop. Included in the Bok training squad for their Rugby Championship opener but didn't feature in their matchday 23, Nyakane has since been dropped by Heyneke Meyer ahead of their trip to Argentina for "repeated breaches of team protocol". SARU later explained that he had missed flights, a video session and trip to the airport for the long journey west. How to ruin your international chances, 101.

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Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
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London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
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Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
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Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
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Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
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Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
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Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
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Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
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Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
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Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
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Recent Results
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Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
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Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
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Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
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Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
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Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
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Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
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Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
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Aviva Premiership Table
5Leicester Tigers00