Planet Rugby

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

11th January 2012 18:30


Hot or not feature image2

Saints: Hot! - Willie Ripie....Not!

It's time for our weekly wrap up of who is setting the benchmarks at the moment... and who should be dropped to the bench!

They're on fire!

Northampton: Are Harlequins running out of steam or are Saints hitting their straps? Probably a bit of both. Northampton dominated proceedings against the Premiership leaders last Friday with a display that would not have gone unnoticed at Vicarage Road or at Welford Road. Unlike Sarries, Tigers and Quins, Jim Mallinder's men can focus their efforts on the domestic front since their Heineken Cup goose is all but cooked. Beware!

Ulster and Biarritz: We copped a lot of flak for including these two in this section last week but it's not hot to say 'told you so,' so we'll let the results speak for themselves: Ulster scored four more tries at Murrayfield on Friday to go with the four they ran past Munster a week before. Meanwhile, Biarritz became only the second club to win in Agen this season (after Toulouse) as they continued their revival. Next up, Leicester and Saracens respectively in the Heineken Cup.

Billy Twelvetrees: By his own admission, Toby Flood's understudy didn't have his best game at pivot for Leicester against Wasps, but with a 29-point haul - which included two tries - we're pretty sure he wasn't crying in his beer in the shed afterwards!

Sam Warburton: Wales' skipper was recently named the Rugby Union Writers' Club's Personality for 2011. That tip tackle aside, who said nice guys finish last?

Toulouse: No one expected Lyon to trouble the French champs at fortress Ernest Wallon last weekend but a 51-point, six-try romp reassured everyone that the Big Red Machine is firing on all cylinders. Spare a thought for Connacht, who are next on the menu. Gulp!

Get these guys some hot chocolate!

Willie Ripia: If reports about Ripia stealing money from his Force team-mates to pay for a gambling habit are true then the Kiwi fly-half has set a new Not Hot High Score.

The bad medical joke(r): Lady luck is being a two-faced wench again. After Ezra Taylor's two-minute Worcester debut last week, Toulouse hooker Akvsenti Giorgadze didn't do much better, only lasting 15 minutes in his first game before tearing a thigh muscle. The Georgain international had only just been recruited as a 'medical joker' to cover for Gary Botha, who has a broken leg. The moral of the story? Stay far away from black cats, cracks on the pavement and anyone wearing a Toulouse number 2 jersey.

England veterans: Apparently old school isn't cool in England anymore. 26-year-old Toby Flood is now the most-capped player in England's Elite Player Squad. If you were born before 1985, it just got a lot harder to crack the nod for the white jersey.

Mourad Boudjellal: Has Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu started a trend? Is there some kind of 'crazy quotes competition' going on that we're not aware of? There's nothing new about club bosses ranting about refs but Boudjellal's "refereeing sodomy" remarks have set a new benchmark for ungentlemanly aggression. To then hint that the LNR's decision to call him before a disciplinary hearing might have something to do with his ethnicity smacks of sour grapes. He said he would retract his comments "the day referees apologise." Well, the ref in question, Christophe Berdos, has admitted he made an error. The ball is in your court, Mourad.

Compiled by Ross Hastie

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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Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
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RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
Glasgow vs Ulster19:35
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Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
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Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
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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
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
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Super Rugby
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
Saturday , April 12
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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RaboDirect PRO12
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
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
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
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Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
3Leicester Tigers1963