Planet Rugby

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

30th June 2014 08:39

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Hot: SA - Not: Force

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!

Blues: Where did that come from? A shocking away record this season meant few were backing the Blues to win at the 'Force Field'. Well, they did just that and how with eighteen superb first-half minutes seeing Ihaia West, Charlie Faumuina, Lolagi Visinia and Ma'a Nonu cross the line. Luke Braid and Pita Ahki went over in the second-half for a 40-14 win that keeps alive their hopes of making the play-offs. Next up, the Crusaders.

Fiji: The islanders will join England, Australia and Wales in Pool A at next year's Rugby World Cup after they beat the Cook Islands 108-6 in Lautoka on Saturday. Nemani Nadolo was once again a stand-out performer for Fiji as he crossed three times and with Timoci Nagusa, Matuisela Talebula, Niko Matawalu, Napolioni Nalaga, Asaeli Tikoriotuma and Sireli Bobo in the backline, the Pool of Death suddenly became more difficult to escape.

New Zealand conference: Things are heating up here as the Crusaders 42, Highlanders, 42, Hurricanes 41, Blues 36 and Chiefs 36 are all still mathematically in with a shout of winning the conference. Last week's results saw the Highlanders, Hurricanes and Blues keep the pressure on Todd Blackadder's side as huge games approach in the coming fortnight, none more so than a final day clash between the Crusaders and Highlanders.

South Africa: Weary and weakened the opposition may have been, but there's an old adage about playing what's in front of you. The Boks certainly did that and more, scoring eight tries to leave Scotland in tatters at the end of their tour. Lood de Jager and Handré Pollard shone.

Kenya and Zimbabwe: Kenya took a big step towards a first-ever World Cup with a 29-22 victory over Namibia in the opening round of the Confederation Africaine de Rugby Division 1A. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's ambitions remain on track after they beat Madagascar 57-22. Two rounds remain with the winner joining New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Georgia in Pool C, while the runner-up will take on Russia for a place in the Repechage Final.


Broken thermostat

Too much?: The consensus at Planet Rugby is that having to take a mid-tournament break in Super Rugby is proof there is too much rugby being played. With most players having started pre-season very late last year or in early January, some are then expected to play internationals during June before coming back for key showdowns for their respective franchise. Is it just coincidence there were several serious injuries over the weekend?


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Rebels: The Melbourne side are in a poor spell of form - losing five of their last six games - and their most recent performance against the Reds was simply not good enough. Against a visiting team missing Will Genia and Quade Cooper, this was a perfect time to turn things around but they were beaten by half-time as they went into the break 22-3 despite having the wind behind them. One slim consolation was that the Rebels did win the second-half.

Scotland's tour schedule: The ridiculous globe-trotting Vern Cotter's depleted side were tasked with set up a brutal encounter with the Boks in Port Elizabeth, and meant that the hammering the home team dished out was always on the cards. There was only one team in this as the Scots failed to cross the line in their final game of a tour that saw them start in Houston before stops in Toronto, Cordoba and finally Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Western Force: The 'Sea of Blue' went home from Saturday's match shell-shocked after the Blues blew their side away with an early blitz. While they missed talisman Nick Cummins, the Force did have Ben McCalman and Alby Mathewson back among others so there are few excuses for how they were dominated so much. Another home game awaits this week, against the Reds, and we expect a response otherwise their play-off hopes evaporate.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle vs Sale15:15
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International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Lyon vs Montpellier18:00
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:00
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
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Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
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International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
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International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
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Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821