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

18th Sep 2013, 18:48

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Mixed fortunes: Joseph and Nonu

Mixed fortunes: Joseph and Nonu

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.

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: The world champions remain unbeaten in 2013. Seven matches, 22 tries scored, an average of 29.7 points scored and 13.5 conceded. Still number one in the world.

Heyneke Meyer: Most coaches, we're looking at you Mr Cockerill, might have flown off the handle in the wake of the farce that was Bismarck du Plessis being sent off following his first non-yellow card. Instead, Meyer kept his composure (at least while in public), refused to blame the decision and his pride remains intact. A coach who looks more impressive in Test rugby after each game.

Saracens and Bath: Two Premiership frontrunners along with Northampton, Saracens and Bath have impressed us for different reasons. Saracens have picked up a maximum of ten points from their first two matches. Definite hot. Bath on the other hand have been running on a high temperature also, despite mixed pre-season predictions as to how they would fare, in picking up two wins by shutting out Newcastle away and beating Leicester at home. Their pack has some newfound bite.

Brodie Retallick: Sam Whitelock often is given the limelight but his partner is developing nicely alongside in the New Zealand engine room. Retallick notched up a try on Saturday in Auckland and was everywhere on both sides of the ball.

Israel Folau: Scolding. Izzy is settling into Test rugby at some pace and apart from Nic White, was the Wallabies star player against Argentina. A possible switch to 13 for the Waratahs is intriguing too.

Riaan Smit: The Cheetahs might have been given a hell of a scare by the Lions last Friday but with Riaan Smit, they couldn't lose. The 29-year-old has a fantastic goal-kicking boot on him and landed two conversion and four penalties, including the match-winner in the 76th minute.

Irish and Newcastle: From the top of the Premiership to the bottom as London Irish and Newcastle proved this year's relegation conundrum will not be simple. Irish won away at Worcester, confirming Warriors will certainly be in contention for the drop, whilst Newcastle responded from being shutout at home against Bath by winning away at Sale. Away wins are like gold dust in the Aviva - Irish won away once all last season - so good work.




Broken Thermostat:

Wallabies: Yes, the Wallabies won at last under Ewen McKenzie. But the sheer jubilation at beating Argentina by a single point at home said more about where Australia currently sit in the world pecking order. South Africa narrowly beat Argentina in Mendoza and it's considered an embarrassment. The Wallabies have work to do. Also, sure the weather was horrendous, but the dismal crowd in Perth is something for the ARU to ponder.




Someone turn up the heater!

Ma'a Nonu: That shoulder charge on Jean de Villiers - when the game was already won - was not only cynical, it was plain stupid. The fact that there has been no citing is simply ridiculous, especially since this is not the first time Nonu has dropped his should, late. 

Bismarck du Plessis: The 'not hot' label is a call that sparked furious debate at Planet Rugby HQ because for the 32 minutes that he was on the field, the Bok hooker was awesome. BUT, in the words of Steve Hansen, "Bismarck will be disappointed because the first one wasn't a yellow card, but what he did the second time was just dumb. You can't elbow someone in the throat." That elbow ended the game as a contest - it in doing so BdP let his team down. John Smit copped six weeks for a similar offence in 2005, so Du Plessis is probably lucky to further escape sanction.

Romain Poite: A decision has to be real shocker for the IRB to make an unprecedented public apology. Sunday's statements from governing body the says enough in itself.

Grenoble and Racing Métro: These two find themselves in the 'Nots' section after mustering only four tries each from their first six matches. Dismal.

Blue Bulls: If you can't win when you've got an extra man for 45 minutes, at home, then something is seriously wrong.

By Ross Hastie and Ben Coles