Planet Rugby

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

23rd May 2012 15:34

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Hot NOt may 23 2012

Not hot: Kings stuffing Lions

It's 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 smoooooookin'!

Leinster: The team first team since Leicester - ten years ago - to successfully defend their European title. The 42-14 Twickenham drubbing of Ulster was also the biggest winning margin in a Heineken Cup Final. With the nurse's office almost empty and confidence overflowing in Dublin, only the very brave would bet against BOD and co. completing an historic Euro-PRO12 double on Sunday.

Leo Cullen and Brad Thorn The Leinster second-row in London last weekend will go down as one of the most decorated partnerships ever to take the field. Thorn became the first player in history to win a World Cup, a Heineken Cup and a Super Rugby title. Meanwhile, captain Cullen become the first player to lead a side to three European Cup titles.

Crusaders: Way to answer your critics. After that hiccup in Melbourne, Todd Blackadder's boys smashed the Blues by a record score, touching down nine tries in the process. Within hours Zac Guildford was back in the All Blacks squad.

Will Genia: Is it any coincidence that the Reds' return to form has coincided with Genia finally producing his best rugby? We think not.

Quade Cooper: He's baaaaaack...it took a while, but the 'Cooperman' finally returned from a seven-month lay-off. He only played one half, but he was already showing hints of the attacking prowess that made him Super Rugby's best pivot last year.

Zack Holmes: Brumbies fans were a worried bunch when news broke that Christian Lealiifano had joined Matt Toomua on the injury list. But 21-year-old Holmes reassured the Canberra faithful that their play-off hopes are in good hands with a cool 22 points - including a try - in his run-on debut.


Bbbrrrr... Someone turn up the heater!

The SARU-SANZAR-Lions-Cheetahs-Cats(?)-Parliamentary-Portfolio-Committee-Exco-General-Council debacle: The South African press was all aflutter on Tuesday with stories about who will represent the country in Super Rugby next year. What did we learn? Not a whole lot.

"The Kings will play in the competition in 2013," SARU CEO Jurie Roux promised the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport.

Nothing new there.

"...but not at the expense of one of the other franchises," he added.

This much we've heard before too. A solution to problem is less forthcoming however.

"Resolving that part of the equation is the issue at hand and we have a number of proposals to take to the Exco (the SARU Executive Council) and ultimately to the General Council for a decision in July," said Roux.

So....we're still at square one.

Kings president Cheeky Watson says that a second special meeting between SARU and franchise representatives ended in an agreement that the bottom team (ie the Lions) will be relegated.

Other sources say that the failed attempt to merge the Lions and Cheetahs into the Cats will not be revisited. No surprises there either.

So beyond everyone being reminded of the dangers of mixing sport and politics, very little useful new information has emerged. Just how SARU expect to keep all the current franchises in the competition without a merger remains a mystery. We wait for an answer.

Double booking at the Stade de France: Speaking of making promises you can't keep, there has been an almighty mix up in Paris. It seems the final of the Coupe de France (that's soccer) and the Top 14 Final have both been booked for 1 June 2013...at the same venue. Good luck sorting that mess out.

Politics in Samoa: Oh dear. It seems Fiji and South Africa aren't the only places where politics and rugby make for uncomfortable bedfellows. Was Mo Schwalger axed as Samoa's skipper because he's too old, or because he had the balls to speak up against the powers that be? Something smells rotten.

The Premiership promotion-relegation debacle: The team that should have been relegated is staying up. Whoever wins the Championship and thus deserves promotion, is staying down. It leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth.

Compiled by Ross Hastie

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