Planet Rugby

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

20th August 2013 11:15

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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.

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
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Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
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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
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Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
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
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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
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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