Planet Rugby

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

04th April 2012 14:16

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Hot or not feature march 5

Hot: The Cheetahs....Not so much: Gavin Henson

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

They're smooooookin!

Cheetahs: South Africa's perennial under-achievers are making waves in Super Rugby at the moment and winning over new fans with their entertaining style of play and never-say-die attitude. Two seasons ago, the Cheetahs couldn't buy a win on the road. Last year, they broke their duck by beating the Waratahs in Sydney and this season returned home with two triumphs from their four-match Australasian tour (including their first win on New Zealand soil) - picking up 11 log points out of a possible 20.

Harlequins: The Aviva Premiership leaders looked like champions in the making as they secured a hard-fought 24-19 victory over Saracens. Quins moved six clear at the top of the table after a monumental battle between the Premiership's top two sides in front of a world record crowd of 83,761 at Wembley. The London club had to mount a frantic rearguard action to secure the win when they were forced to spend almost 20 minutes at the end of the match reduced to 14 men.

Australia Sevens team: It may have been April Fool's Day, but Australia weren't joking around in Tokyo after coming from behind to win their first title of the 2011/12 Sevens World Series as Matt Lucas held his nerve to kick the conversion that sealed a thrilling 28-26 win over Samoa. The Australians had previously struggled on the current Sevens circuit with a fourth-place finish in the opening round on the Gold Coast their previous best result this season. Erm... Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi? Oi? Oi?

Stormers: Last year's semi-finalists beat the Bulls in a physical SA derby to remain the only unbeaten side left in this year's Super Rugby competition. The Stormers only chink seems to again be the inability to score tries, although on early evidence the men from Cape Town will be happy to strangle the life out of their opponents, while their raw power looks capable of taking them all the way. Certainly the way they exerted themselves on the Bulls showed the Stormers strength, although the manner with which the visitors were able to get back into the contest will concern Allister Coetzee. The Newlands faithful are believing more than ever that their team will finally break the riddle and bring a championship to one of the more consistent teams yet to claim a Super Rugby trophy.

Leinster: Leinster secured the provincial bragging rights and four more Pro12 points with an 18-9 victory over arch rivals Munster in their top-of-the-table clash. It wasn't pretty but the win at Thomond Park will no doubt give Joe Schmidt and his troops a boost heading into this weekend's Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

Biarritz and Perpignan: Both sides have battled against Top 14 relegation this season, however recorded crucial wins over the weekend to give themselves some much-needed breathing space. 2009 champions Perpignan hammered relegation rivals Bayonne 47-9, while fellow giants Biarritz beat 2010 champions Clermont 15-14 to bag their fourth win on the trot.


Someone turn on the heater...!

Gavin Henson: So rugby's favourite ballroom dancer is club-less. Again. We won't pretend we're surprised and judging by the majority of the comments we've received, neither are you. Henson is by no means the first rugby player to get into trouble for going overboard with the booze, but what we can't understand is why he was partying so hard after his team lost by 28 points?

Cardiff Blues: The whole Henson saga has somewhat overshadowed the fact that the wheels have come off the Blues' bus. They've won just one of their last five Pro12 matches. Friday's 31-3 defeat in Glasgow left them 11 points adrift of the Warriors in the last Pro12 play-off berth, effectively ending their title hopes.

Reds: Speaking of derailed campaigns, the defending Super Rugby champions look dead and buried after just six rounds. Smashed by 54 points in Pretoria and then drilled by 26 in Perth, Ewen Mckenzie's team - and Will Genia in particular - look rather off-colour without a certain Mr. Cooper.

Willie Mason: After arriving at Toulon amid much fanfare, the former Rugby League star was labelled "the biggest flop in the history of the club" on Toulon's official fanclub's website this week. Big Willie, who has struggled to make the starting XV at RCT, had a heated exchange on Twitter with some supporters and when one of them suggested he leave the club he replied: "iv already gone u stupid French p**** go f*** yourselfand choke on a croissant." Very professional indeed....

Bayonne: After going on one of the biggest recruitment drives ever seen - signing Neemia Tialata, Sione Lauaki, Mike Phillips, Joe Rokocoko and Cédric Heymans, amongst others - the Basque club have won just six games all season and have sacked two head coaches. After last weekend's collapse in Perpignan, they are now clear favourites to get relegated from the Top 14 alongside Lyon.

Bath: Three consecutive losses - including defeat in the LV=Cup semi-final - have left Bath in eighth place, four points adrift of the top six, synonymous with Heineken Cup qualification. They were woeful against Saints last weekend and the confirmation of Sir Ian McGeechan's departure looks like the first step in an end-of-season shake-up at the Rec.

Compiled by Dave Morris and Ross Hastie

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
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Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
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Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
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Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
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Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
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Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
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ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Preview
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
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Recent Results
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Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
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Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
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Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
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Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
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ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
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New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
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Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
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Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
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Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
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ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
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Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26