Planet Rugby

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

18th August 2014 08:46


Hot or not image 18 Aug 2014

Hot: England Women - Not: New Zealand

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!

England Women: After three Finals lost to New Zealand, the ladies in white finally got their hands back on the silverware, beating Canada 21-9 in the final to reclaim the Women's World Cup for the first time since 1994. Emily Scarratt scored 16 points, including the title-clinching try. Veteran openside Maggie Alphonsi also deserves credit for another brilliant display in what was her final Test.

Pumas set-piece: Be warned, Argentina will not be pushovers in the Rugby Championship. Los Pumas were written of before the start of Saturday's clash with the Springboks but in retrospect they probably deserved a draw... if not more. To be fair on the Boks, the unexpected torrential rain was a great leveler but the way the visiting pack dominated at scrum time and fronted up in the tight exchanges was impressive. It's rare that South Africa's line-out comes off second best but there too the South Americans caused all sorts of trouble.

Nathan Charles: With Australia's top two hookers sidelined, Charles had a target on his back in Sydney but produced a top-class performance against New Zealand in Sydney. Charles, who was making his first Test start, was on the field for the full 80 minutes. Enough evidence that Wallabies coach was more than happy with his effort.

Toby Flood: How do you win over the fans at your new club? Well, scoring all your team's points, including a try, to save the club from an embarrassing defeat in your first game would be good start. Well played.

Magali Harvey: What a try that was against France from the newly-crowned IRB Women's Player of the Year, who has impressed throughout the Women's World Cup. The Canadian wing's pace and ability to weave in and out of the would-be tacklers makes her a special talent.

Waikato and Canterbury: Excellent wins from these two outfits in their opening ITM Cup games as the Mooloo Men won at Wellington while Canterbury hammered Auckland in Christchurch. Wellington were missing several first-team regulars due to international commitments or injury, but still were expected to beat Waikato, who had other ideas as two tries from Sevens star Joe Webber saw them win 37-25. Canterbury meanwhile scored six tries in their 48-9 home demolition of Auckland as they started the 2014 season - looking for a seventh successive title - in impressive style.

Western Province and Golden Lions: Level at the top of the Currie Cup standings after a perfect haul of ten points from two games, these two look like the sides to beat this season. WP ran six tries past the Blue Bulls in Cape Town while the Lions smashed the EP Kings 60-19 at Ellis Park.

Stade Franšais and Brive: Along with Racing Metro, Stade Franšais were the big winners of Round One of the Top 14 as both Parisian clubs bagged precious away wins. While Racing needed a bit of luck to get past Montpellier, Stade conquered Castres' normally impenetrable fortress. Meanwhile, Brive were they only side to claim a try bonus-point the opening weekend and sit top of the standings after having thrashed La Rochelle 37-15.

Buenos Aires 7s: The club from Argentina's capital city were crowned the 2014 World Club 7s champions at Twickenham on Sunday after launching a superb comeback against Auckland in the final.

Broken Thermostat:

South Africa: It almost went horribly, horribly wrong for South Africa as they battled their way past a dogged Pumas outfit that is ranked outside the top 10. While he won't admit as much in public, Heyneke Meyer will be very worried by the way the Bok scrum was shunted around and his team's inability to hold onto the ball. But let's not forget that the Boks did win, thanks largely to some very good defending at the death as they soaked up buckets of pressure from Argentina without conceding.

Australia: Did they halt the All Blacks winning streak? Yes. But they didn't win either, meaning that Ewen McKenzie's team are left with a massive mountain to climb if they are to regain the Bledisloe Cup. A first win at Eden Park since 1984 is now required.

Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

>**Insert deity in charge of rain here<** We're not sure who to blame for the rain in Sydney and Pretoria, but the ill-timed showers in both cities ruined the opening weekend of the Rugby Championship. It promised so much yet turned out to be damp squib.

New Zealand: For any other team in the world, a draw in Australia would be worth a spot in the 'hot' section. But no one in the All Blacks camp will feel that missing out on a world record is worth celebrating. For the first time in almost two years they failed to score and the counters are reset to zero as they chase that elusive 18th straight win. With seven yellow cards conceded in their last ten Tests there is a red light shining on Steve Hansen's dashboard.

Blue Bulls and EP Kings: Ag nee man! the men from Pretoria's Currie Cup form so far has been about as good as the weather at Loftus on Saturday. They probably would have preferred a bit of rain to the sunshine at Newlands as old rivals WP ran them ragged. Frans Ludeke's charges have scored just two tries from two matches and conceded 10 in the process. The men from Port Elizabeth have also found the going tough since returning to the top tier of South African rugby. While the Kings have scored more tries than the Bulls, in their two games, they have already conceded 95 points, including 13 tries.

The bad from Altrad Stadium: Montpellier hooker Charles Geli was red carded in the 40th minute for throwing several punches after coming up from a scrum. Maybe Geli was provoked off camera but the pictures suggested that Geli was the instigator as his fists flew. He did cop a few himself but the pain was probably made worse as he ended up watching his team-mates go down to a 19-16 defeat to Racing Metro, despite playing superbly with fourteen men. However, the result wasn't without controversy as a Johan Goosen drop-goal from distance - which seemed to dip under the crossbar - on 52 minutes proved key. Referee Salim Attalah wanted to check with the TMO whether the ball had gone over and after a few replays, amazingly he gave it the green light.

Taranaki and Counties Manukau: Most New Zealand professional teams are regarded as trendsetters and they are renowned worldwide for their attacking style of play. However, there was little evidence of that on display in the ITM Cup opener between these two sides in New Plymouth which ended in a draw with neither side crossing the whitewash for a try during a dull 80 minutes.

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