Planet Rugby

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

24th September 2013 14:41

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Hot or not september 24 2013

Hot: Zebre - Not: Euro mess

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!

Montpellier: Hands up if you can remember the last time Clermont got thrashed by 40 points? No one? Didn't think so. Outsiders at 50/1 for the Heineken Cup a week ago, those odds have been slashed to 33/1... and we predict they'll continue coming down.

Zebre and Treviso: Don't cry for me Italia! While fans and administrators across the continent are up in arms over the likelihood that Italian rugby may be excluded from future European club competition, many of us forgot that Treviso may well be good enough to 'qualify' for a revamped competition by finishing in the top six of the Pro12. Victory over Munster certainly added some weight to that argument. But of course it was the guys in the silly stripy jerseys that stole the headlines. Congrats to Zebre for claiming their first Pro12 win of their history, in Cardiff. We sincerely hope that many more will follow - having two strong teams in Italy makes the Pro12 a more competitive league and benefits everyone.

Saracens: Fifteen points out of a possible 15. Demolished Bath. Perfect start to the Premiership season = Hot.

Wellington: Unbeaten in seven games and four points clear at the top of the ITM Cup standings, the Lions were too good for champions Canterbury on Saturday, claiming a vital win in the race for the New Zealand domestic title.

The Sharks: Top of the Currie Cup standings after putting 50 points past the Cheetahs. The boys from Durban must be considered the hot favourites for the title.

Western Province: We seriously considered putting WP in the 'Not Hot' section this week after their abysmal game management almost cost them victory against the Griquas on Friday. But, in the end, they got the job done and bagged four points to maintain their unbeaten streak after seven Currie Cup starts. Kudos.

Danny Cipriani: For a change, Cipriani was making the headlines ON the field over the weekend. The hero for Sale as he came off the bench to score 21 points in a morale-boosting win over Wasps, it was a fine performance from the fly-half whom everyone loves to hate.

Stade Franšais: Boasting five victories from seven games (that's one more win than leaders Top 14 leaders Toulon) the Parisians are showing their best form for years.


Someone turn up the heater!

European Cup/Rugby Champions Cup/Clubs v Unions... mudslinging debacle: What a mess. What an almighty mess! No need for us to start pointing fingers - the protagonists have done plenty of that already. Read all about it here.

Cardiff Blues: Losing to Zebre is not a great way to build momentum early in the season. At least they're practically guaranteed a spot in Europe.... whoops, maybe not.

Kingsholm controversy: Northampton thought they had won a pulsating encounter with Gloucester following a brilliant run from Wales star George North, which set up fellow wing Jamie Elliott for a wonder score. Stephen Myler's conversion in front of the posts put Saints a point ahead with less than a minute remaining on the clock. But, with boss Jim Mallinder having made his way down to the sideline for the closing seconds, referee Greg Garner missed Gloucester players being in front of the kicker at the restart before awarding the home side a penalty for offside when the ball looked to have shot out the back of a resulting scrum. Cue Mallinder kicking the advertising hoarding in anger. Even our favourite Tweeter @Eliota_Sapolu thought is was dodgy.

Basque rugby: Rugby in the Pays Basque is in a dire state with both participants of this weekend's derby in the relegation zone. Biarritz are stone last with six losses in seven starts. At least Bayonne can take encouragement from a hard-fought - but well-deserved - losing bonus point away to Toulon. Calls for a unified Basque team are growing, but considering the rivalry between the red and blue camps on the Atlantic coast, it's unlikely to ever be a marriage made in rugby heaven.

Overzealous TMOs: We're not fans of having a dig at match officials but Shaun Veldsman's "mystery punch" intervention at Newlands last Friday is one of the worst TMO calls we've ever seen. Have a look below.

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