Who’s hot and who’s not!

Date published: March 12 2018

It’s time for our Monday wrap of who has their name in lights and who’s making the headlines for all the wrong reasons over the past week.

THEY’RE ON FIRE!

Fiji Sevens: The Pacific islanders were in superb form at the Vancouver Sevens and swept all before them on their way to the title. Their victory over Kenya in the Cup final was a significant one as it means they are the first country to win two tournaments during World Rugby’s 2017/18 Sevens Series and they move above New Zealand into second place in the standings, eight points behind tabletoppers South Africa.

Jaguares: That was much more like it. The Jaguares, who had lost their three previous games this season, were excellent right from the off against the Waratahs. Their physicality, tempo, fire and game-plan caught the ‘Tahs cold as they ran out 38-28 victors. In truth it should have been a larger win margin and how they lost the try bonus-point will sting somewhat. But take nothing away from this win. Much better.

Ireland: Congratulations to Joe Schmidt’s men as they managed to wrap up the Six Nations title with one week to spare. It’s fully deserved as they have been the most complete side this championship. Their next mission is to secure the Grand Slam at Twickenham against a hurting England side. On form they should do just that as they look a side so confident in their game-plan and full of confidence, unlike England.

Blues comeback: 21-3 down at 39 minutes, 28-10 down on 62 minutes, 35-24 down on 74 minutes; not a problem for the Blues. Incredibly they won 38-35 against the Lions in Johannesburg to get their season up and running in dramatic style. The combination of Sonny Bill Williams alongside Rieko Ioane at centre worked nicely as the Blues edged a 10-try thriller at Ellis Park. Most definitely our game of the weekend.

Rebels: Who saw this coming? The Rebels won just one game all season last year but have come out on top in their first three matches this campaign. Their latest scalp was the Brumbies as they ran out 33-10 winners to move seven points clear at the Australia Conference summit and with the Lions losing to the Blues they’re also atop the overall table. A lot of credit must go to their new head coach Dave Wessels.

COLD AS ICE!

England: Back-to-back defeats for the 2017 Six Nations champions as they were disappointing against France in Paris. In truth they played les Bleus at completely the wrong game on Saturday – into their hands in all honesty – as they lost the physical and breakdown scrap to a more powerful French unit. Eddie Jones’ side also looked short on ideas with ball in hand, which is worrying with a World Cup approaching.

Teimana Harrison: With their Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final against Bath in the balance on 66 minutes, Harrison made the regrettable decision to lead with the head against Nathan Catt. He was shown a red card and Bath duly slotted what proved to be the match-winning three points. Harrison can have no real complaints about the referee’s call and what makes it worse is that it was the back-row’s 100th game for Saints.

Video credit: BT Sport

Montpellier warm-up fight: You don’t see this every day. Montpellier pair Bismarck du Plessis and Mohamed Haouas came to blows during the warm-up against Racing 92. It’s unclear what sparked the drama but it didn’t affect Montpol’s performance as they thumped their visitors.

Video credit: Canal Rugby Club

U20 tip tackle: France duo Hassane Kolingar and Pierre-Henri Azagoh were both given their marching orders on Friday after they picked up England’s Fraser Dingwall at a ruck and unceremoniously dropped him on his head. The referee had no alternative but to send them both off.


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