Planet Rugby

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

12th May 2014 09:33

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Hot or not May 12

Cooking: Castres - Off the boil: Reds

It's time for Planet Rugby's 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!

Castres and Racing-Metro: There were a few bookies crying into their beer after the results in the Top 14 play-offs. Away winners in France have been rarities all season, but what happens when it gets to the knockout stages? A year on from shocking Clermont in the semi-finals, Castres end les Jaunards' 77-game unbeaten streak at Marcel Michelin while Racing stun everyone by beating Toulouse, who had lost just twice at home in four years! Madness.

New Zealand 7s: Not completely dominant in London after a controversial loss to England, but Sir Gordon Tietjiens' men bagged their 12th Series title in style. From 21-0 down to 52-33 winners is a comeback only they could produce.

Northampton: 74-13! 11 tries were scored by Northampton against Wasps on Saturday as the title contenders ended the regular season in style.

Harlequins: After a rough season, Quins produced the goods on the big day with their fifth straight win as they edged Bath, leapfogging their visitors into fourth spot to claim the semi-final berth by the skin of their teeth. A showdown with Saracens awaits the 2012 champions.

Crusaders: The best performance of the Super Rugby weekend saw the Reds get thrashed in Brisbane as the Crusaders clocked up their fifth-straight win which also happens to be their fifth victory on the road this season.

Western Force: After years of being whipping boys in Super Rugby, the team from Perth are making a genuine tilt at the play-offs. With six wins for their last seven games, including a rare victory in their first game in South Africa, they are now fifth.

Glasgow: Glasgow secured a first-ever home semi-final for a Scottish Pro12 team with an emphatic 52-0 win over Zebre, scoring eight tries in the process.

Seabelo Senatla: The Blitzbokke flyer scored 13 tries at the London Sevens. Jislike!


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Reds: Absolutely awful. The Queenslanders are unrecognisable from the side that won the 2011 Super Rugby title. Terrible tactical kicking gifted three tries to the Crusaders, who scored over 50 points in total on Sunday. Richard Graham should be sweating over his job.

Vern Cotter's Clermont: They say you're only as good as your last game. Clermont's home record has been reset to '0'. From 77, that's a big drop. Cotter's time in the Auvergne could not have come to a more miserable end as, once again, they were unable to lift themselves from the disappointment of failure in Europe.

Guy Novès and Toulouse: Friday's loss to Racing terminated the worst season in two decades for Europe's richest club as Toulouse's 20-year-long presence in the Top 14 semi-finals was brought to an end. It was a night to forget for Novès in particular. Beyond his deplorable decision to send Florian Fritz back onto the field one has to question the veteran manager's selections. Why make 10 changes to a starting XV that scored six tries a week earlier? Why start a 10-12 combination that had not played together for months? Why start Cyril Baille - who was thrashed at scrum time - and leave a fit Gurthro Steenkamp on the bench? The Rouge et Noir fans are not happy.

Jean-Marc Doussain: It's only May but we've already decided the recipient of our 'Kicking-Tee Choker of the Year' award. Not for the first time this season (remember France v Ireland?), Doussain missed a couple of sitters to cost his team victory in a big game.

Bath: A season that promised so much with Bath looking like a surefire play-off contender ended at The Stoop with defeat to Harlequins. Still, no time to wallow, the Challenge Cup final awaits.

Munster: Somehow the Irish giants lost to a second string Ulster team despite having a number of first-team players on show. Not the result required ahead of the play-offs.

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