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 CÚdric 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
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
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Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
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Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
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Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay 36 - 14 WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Report
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
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Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
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ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
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Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
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Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
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Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
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ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411