Planet Rugby

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

01st October 2013 12:05

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Hot or not feature October 1 2013

Hot: Stade Français

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: Despite being without Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, New Zealand got the job done in La Plata with a performance of champions as Ben Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Sam Cane, Conrad Smith and Julian Savea stood out in the 33-15 bonus-point win. After watching the Boks fail to claim five points, New Zealand's feat means they only need a losing bonus from Ellis Park and they will have retained the title. They will want to finish with a flourish though won't they?

Springboks: Yes, they missed out on the critical fourth try against Australia but last week's performance added weight to talk that South Africa are genuine contenders for the World Cup crown in 2015. Their game is of course built on power and lots of it but as plans go, this is arguably the toughest to stop. Adriaan Strauss and Bismarck du Plessis are arguably the world's best hookers right now while their back-row is making life pretty easy for Fourie du Preez and Morne Steyn to create wider out. It's all set up for a titanic Rugby Championship finale in Johannesburg this coming weekend. Let battle commence.

Oyonnax: Clermont, check; Biarritz, check; Castres, check; Toulon, check. The Top 14 new-boys are building quite the list of scalps at Stade Charles-Mathon and the most recent is probably the pick of the bunch. Benjamin Urdapilleta was the hero after he secured victory with a drop-goal late on. Congrats.

Stade Français: Leading the way in France, the Parisians are looking pretty hot. At first we thought it was all down to the arrival of new head coach Gonzalo Quesada but soon we realised we were only half right. Indeed, we reckon Mrs Quesada, French TV hostess Isabelle Ithurburu, might be the inspiration to the Parisians' refound from.

Fiji U18: Congratulations to the Fiji schoolboys, who beat their New Zealand U18 counterparts for the first time in their history on Friday. After beating New South Wales Country 74-10 last Tuesday, they won 22-20 against Russell Hilton-Jones' side, who had Warren Gatland's son, Bryn, playing at ten.

Demetri Catrakilis: He was the hero in 2012's Currie Cup final against The Sharks with a drop-goal and Catrakilis was at it again last weekend as he dropped Western Province past the Free State Cheetahs late on in Bloemfontein. His smart effort puts Allister Coetzee's side into the play-offs. Take a bow.


Someone turn up the heater!

Worcester: The only winless side in the Aviva Premiership so far. Big things have been expected with Dean Ryan at the helm but the vibe Worcester are giving off isn't pretty. Ryan described the work needed as "a huge challenge to fix" - hardly positive words from a new boss. It's too early to be counting points, but Irish, Sale and Newcastle have all shown that they are up for a scrap, with the Warriors yet to fire.

Australia: Utterly clueless in the first-half at Newlands, at times the Wallabies were a shambles. Patchy defence, a lack of any real threat going forward and second best by some margin, Ewen McKenzie has serious work to do. Will Genia was a bright spot off the bench but the general expectation is that Argentina will now pick up that elusive first win in Rosario next weekend...

Argentina: ...given how the Pumas had New Zealand sweating for large periods of last weekend's match in La Plata. Unable to keep their intensity in defence going in the second-half, Argentina's scrum was destructive throughout. The Wallabies should be worried about Marcos Ayerza and Juan Figallo this week in training.

Jake White: Spotted outside Newlands speaking to the media after South Africa's win, White is back in South Africa to stay after his stunning exit from the Brumbies last weekend. His grievances on losing out on the Australia job have been downplayed as he expressed his desire to coach Western Province - a team already with a coach in Allister Coetzee. White's next move is unclear, but he has made clear his desire to get back into Test rugby. The manner of his departure from the Brumbies though, just a few months after guiding them to the Super Rugby final, has left a sour taste.

Jannie du Plessis: The Springbok tighthead prop is a medical practitioner, but the eye procedure he performed on Stephen Moore was in contravention of the national health and safety act   - not even to mention the spirit of the game.

Top 14 discipline: 19 cards in Round Eight! Seven yellows in Clermont v Bordeaux-Bègles - of which the visitors racked up an impressive five, plus four yellows and a red in Grenoble v Brive illustrate an alarming trend in France's top league this season.

Biarritz: 1/8 = relegation beckons. Times are desperate for the former Heineken Cup finalists, who currently sit nine points adrift at the bottom.

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 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
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