Planet Rugby

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

11th January 2012 18:30

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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

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