Planet Rugby

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

31st December 2013 13:36

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Matt Hopper England Saxons 2012

Matt Hopper: England's answer?

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!

Clermont's 70: Every club in whichever sport would love a home ground fortress like the one currently boast by Clermont. Victory against Oyonnax last Sunday was their latest scalp at Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin. 70 games unbeaten in all competitions on home soil. Racing Métro, who can't make the Heineken Cup knockouts, are their next visitors to the venue when the duo collide in January 19's Pool finale.

Premiership big boys: It was wins all round for Saracens, Northampton, Harlequins and Leicester over the weekend as only Bath lost from the pace-setting group in England. Furthermore, Saracens picked up the fastest try bonus-point of the season, scoring four tries in just 28 minutes against Worcester in a display of dominance. The question now is can Exeter, Wasps, Sale Sharks and Gloucester stay within touching distance in 2014?

Matt Hopper: Up there with the shrewdest signing of the last three years, Conor O'Shea's decision to dip into the Championship to sign up Hopper from Cornish Pirates has proved a stroke of genius. The 28-year-old has consistently been a threat for Harlequins and last Saturday versus Exeter, Hopper stood out. Playing against his home-town club, the outside centre offered plenty going forward and also put in big hits. Surely he has to be considered for EPS selection by Stuart Lancaster, particularly as Joel Tomkins is currently injured.

JJ Hanrahan: JJ Hanrahan scored all of Munster's points as they won 22-16 against Connacht on Friday. The young playmaker is following up his try-scoring heroics in the Heineken Cup very nicely indeed as he continues to battle with Ian Keatley for the ten slot.


Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Bernard Laporte: The Toulon head coach jumped the gun by announcing that utility back James O'Connor will be joining his side next season. O'Connor moved swiftly to deny this claim, saying that Laporte was premature with his announcement and that he is considering a bid to play for Australia at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

Toulon and Toulouse: Two of the powerhouses of the French game suffered humiliating away defeats to Racing Métro and Toulouse respectively last weekend. To add insult to injury, both clubs failed to gather bonus points - for losing by less than seven points - which sees them slipping further behind Top 14 pace-setters Clermont in the league table.

Zebre: The Italian outfit must have fancied their chances of notching only their second ever win after they held the lead on two occasions in their derby away to Treviso. It wasn't to be, however, as a late fightback from their hosts condemned them to their ninth loss of the season which leaves them rooted to the bottom of the RaboDirect PRO12 standings.

Richard Cockerill and Steve Diamond: Cockerill unwittingly opened a new can of worms when he accused Sale of cheating in the scrums during the Tigers' Aviva Premiership victory at Welford Road. Diamond soon hit back though by accusing Leicester of breaking the league's salary cap, suggesting they are operating some £2 million over the budget, which begs the question: is it really necessary for coaches to be airing their dirty laundry in public?

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
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RaboDirect PRO12
Sunday , April 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs Edinburgh19:05
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Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
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Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
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RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
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RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
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Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058