Planet Rugby

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

22nd October 2013 13:41

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Hot or not october 22 2013

Hot: Winning at Wembley - Not: Drunk at work

It is time for our weekly wrap up of who has their name in lights at the moment...and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.

They're on fire!

Toulouse: Six other teams have tried, and failed, to beat Saracens this season. Many thought that Guy Novès would have settled for a losing bonus-point at Wembley but the four-time champions showed they are very much still amongst the top teams in Europe as a massive performance from the rouge et noir bench secured a victory that could change the shape of the competition. Nine points from their first two games = hot.

Western Province and Sharks: It's the Currie Cup Final we all expected. WP are yet to lose this season and will back themselves to retain the title at Newlands in a rematch of last year's title decider on Saturday. The Sharks will contest their fourth consecutive final and will have revenge on their minds after the loss in Durban twelve months ago.

Ulster: When Toulon travelled to Montpellier they were lucky to snatch a draw. Toulouse were thrashed 25-0 there. Clermont were dealt a 40-point whipping. So for Ulster to get four Heineken Cup pool points from their visit to Stade Yves-du-Manoir is a significant result. Next up? Treviso at Ravenhill.

Wellington and Canterbury: The duo got past Counties Manukau and Auckland in their respective semi-finals to set up a mouth-watering final. Wellington have lost just once this campaign - in the last round of the regular season against Hawkes' Bay - so deserve their place in this week's clash while Canterbury seem to be peaking at just the right time ahead of their sixth straight final. We back the Lions to triumph though, with the back-row battle already whetting the appetite.

Cardiff Blues: Talk about enjoying a season-changing performance. The Blues lifted their efforts and played like their lives depended on it over last weekend as they beat Heineken Cup champions Toulon at the Arms Park. There were tears from director of rugby Phil Davies in the changing room after the result and who can blame him as critics were answered. Furthermore, it was also Davies' 50th birthday - we think the victory topped the present pile.

Gio Aplon: They say dynamite comes in small packages and Aplon illustrated this point perfectly when he scored a memorable individual try in Western Province's semi-final win over the Lions in Cape Town. With plenty of skill, and pace to burn, Aplon is a rare species in South Africa and he has given Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer a timely reminder of his match-changing ability ahead of the Boks' end-of-year tour to Europe.

Courtney Lawes: Alongside fellow star man Christian Day, Lawes was superb for Northampton against the Ospreys on Sunday. Looking to push his way into the England starting line-up this November, the 24-year-old made fourteen tackles in the game - most of those driving back Ospreys players - while his work around the field was impressive. Afterwards director of rugby Jim Mallinder said his performance was "sensational" ... we'd go along with that.


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Mike Phillips, Dwayne Haare and Stephen Brett: We await the verdict from Bayonne but we wouldn't be surprised if Mike Phillips is fired. Most rugby players enjoy a few beers after a win, which is all very well, but once again Phillips has overstepped the bounds of what is acceptable for a professional sportsman.

Footloose Bismarck du Plessis: How on earth Advocate André Oosthuizen found that BdP's contact with Cheetahs flank Lappies Labuschagne was "accidental" is a mystery to us. You can only wonder what Oosthuizen's finding might have been had the hearing not been a few days before the Currie Cup Final. Judge for yourself here.

Zebre:Thrashed at home to Connacht, it looks like the team disguised as lion food are set for another winless campaign. It's becoming harder and harder to justify their place in the top tier of European competition.

Griquas: They may have claimed a narrow win over the Pumas in last Friday's Currie-Cup promotion/relegation showdown but tactics from the home side in Kimberley were pretty poor. Turning down five kickable penalties in the first half of a play-off is suicidal. A two-point head-start in this week's return fixture in Nelspruit might not be enough...

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
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
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
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
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00