Planet Rugby

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

30th June 2014 08:39


Hot or not feature image

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
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
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European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table