Planet Rugby

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

01st October 2013 12:05

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Hot or not feature October 1 2013

Hot: Stade Français

It's time for Planet Rugby's wrap of who has their name in lights at the moment... and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.

They're on fire!

All Blacks: Despite being without Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, New Zealand got the job done in La Plata with a performance of champions as Ben Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Sam Cane, Conrad Smith and Julian Savea stood out in the 33-15 bonus-point win. After watching the Boks fail to claim five points, New Zealand's feat means they only need a losing bonus from Ellis Park and they will have retained the title. They will want to finish with a flourish though won't they?

Springboks: Yes, they missed out on the critical fourth try against Australia but last week's performance added weight to talk that South Africa are genuine contenders for the World Cup crown in 2015. Their game is of course built on power and lots of it but as plans go, this is arguably the toughest to stop. Adriaan Strauss and Bismarck du Plessis are arguably the world's best hookers right now while their back-row is making life pretty easy for Fourie du Preez and Morne Steyn to create wider out. It's all set up for a titanic Rugby Championship finale in Johannesburg this coming weekend. Let battle commence.

Oyonnax: Clermont, check; Biarritz, check; Castres, check; Toulon, check. The Top 14 new-boys are building quite the list of scalps at Stade Charles-Mathon and the most recent is probably the pick of the bunch. Benjamin Urdapilleta was the hero after he secured victory with a drop-goal late on. Congrats.

Stade Français: Leading the way in France, the Parisians are looking pretty hot. At first we thought it was all down to the arrival of new head coach Gonzalo Quesada but soon we realised we were only half right. Indeed, we reckon Mrs Quesada, French TV hostess Isabelle Ithurburu, might be the inspiration to the Parisians' refound from.

Fiji U18: Congratulations to the Fiji schoolboys, who beat their New Zealand U18 counterparts for the first time in their history on Friday. After beating New South Wales Country 74-10 last Tuesday, they won 22-20 against Russell Hilton-Jones' side, who had Warren Gatland's son, Bryn, playing at ten.

Demetri Catrakilis: He was the hero in 2012's Currie Cup final against The Sharks with a drop-goal and Catrakilis was at it again last weekend as he dropped Western Province past the Free State Cheetahs late on in Bloemfontein. His smart effort puts Allister Coetzee's side into the play-offs. Take a bow.


Someone turn up the heater!

Worcester: The only winless side in the Aviva Premiership so far. Big things have been expected with Dean Ryan at the helm but the vibe Worcester are giving off isn't pretty. Ryan described the work needed as "a huge challenge to fix" - hardly positive words from a new boss. It's too early to be counting points, but Irish, Sale and Newcastle have all shown that they are up for a scrap, with the Warriors yet to fire.

Australia: Utterly clueless in the first-half at Newlands, at times the Wallabies were a shambles. Patchy defence, a lack of any real threat going forward and second best by some margin, Ewen McKenzie has serious work to do. Will Genia was a bright spot off the bench but the general expectation is that Argentina will now pick up that elusive first win in Rosario next weekend...

Argentina: ...given how the Pumas had New Zealand sweating for large periods of last weekend's match in La Plata. Unable to keep their intensity in defence going in the second-half, Argentina's scrum was destructive throughout. The Wallabies should be worried about Marcos Ayerza and Juan Figallo this week in training.

Jake White: Spotted outside Newlands speaking to the media after South Africa's win, White is back in South Africa to stay after his stunning exit from the Brumbies last weekend. His grievances on losing out on the Australia job have been downplayed as he expressed his desire to coach Western Province - a team already with a coach in Allister Coetzee. White's next move is unclear, but he has made clear his desire to get back into Test rugby. The manner of his departure from the Brumbies though, just a few months after guiding them to the Super Rugby final, has left a sour taste.

Jannie du Plessis: The Springbok tighthead prop is a medical practitioner, but the eye procedure he performed on Stephen Moore was in contravention of the national health and safety act   - not even to mention the spirit of the game.

Top 14 discipline: 19 cards in Round Eight! Seven yellows in Clermont v Bordeaux-Bègles - of which the visitors racked up an impressive five, plus four yellows and a red in Grenoble v Brive illustrate an alarming trend in France's top league this season.

Biarritz: 1/8 = relegation beckons. Times are desperate for the former Heineken Cup finalists, who currently sit nine points adrift at the bottom.

Forthcoming Fixtures
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
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Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
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Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
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Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
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Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
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Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
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Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
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Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs Blues19:35
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
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Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
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Recent Results
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
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Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
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Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
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Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
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Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
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RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
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Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954