Who’s hot… and who’s not!

Date published: August 18 2015

It is time for our weekly round-up of who has their name in lights at the moment… and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.

They're on fire!

All Blacks midfield: Any suggestions the All Balcks were off the boil after their loss to Australia were swept aside in a scintillating performance in Auckland. The tried and tested combination of Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith worked their old magic with the centres scoring three of New Zealand's five tries. The clear favourites to defend their world crown in England. 

Jonny May: Stuart Lancaster described May as England’s outstanding performer in camp and he backed it up with a try and an assist against France – gathering Alex Goode’s cross-field chip for his own score and bursting into the line with that trademark pace to set up Anthony Watson. Dropped in the Six Nations, now certain to make the World Cup.

Richie McCaw: The most Test caps of all time. It’s a heck of an achievement from one of the game’s greatest players, succeeding another legend in Brian O'Driscoll. Chapeau, Richie.

Pat Lambie: South Africa’s first Test win of the year coincided with Lambie’s first start for the Boks and it’s fair to say he nailed it. Accurate goal-kicking and real composure at fly-half has probably leapfrogged him ahead of Handré Pollard for the start at the World Cup.

Taqele Naiyaravoro: The Waratahs wing staked his claim for a Wallaby World Cup spot with a hat-trick in the World XV's 45-20 win over Japan in Tokyo.

Blue Bulls and Golden Lions: Back-to-back bonus-point wins in the opening two rounds of the Currie Cup for these two sides, who haven’t won the tournament since 2009 and 2011 respectively.

Broken Thermostat:

Simon Zebo: Arguably the most dangerous player on the pitch in Dublin, Zebo took huge strides towards making Ireland's World Cup squad with his display against Scotland. Having said that, he was very fortunate to get away with a trip on Tim Visser in the second half that might have swung the game the Scots' way.

Scotland: A loss in Dublin but Scotland showed plenty more bite than expected and gave Ireland a real test, or at least a considerably larger test than Wales the week before in Cardiff.

Manuwatu: Just too little too late for the Turbos who lost 36-35 to Counties Manukau on Sunday, but they did score three tries in the final ten minutes to bag two bonus points in the ITM Cup.

Someone fetch these guys a warm cuppa soup!

Quade Cooper: Eden Park just doesn't agree with the Wallabies playmaker. His high tackle on Aaron Smith and subsequent time in the sin-bin corresponded to the All Blacks scoring three tries and killing off any hope of an Aussie comeback. Cooper later claimed he did well, we don't really agree.

Dan Tuohy and Gordon D’Arcy: Ireland did enough to get a win over Scotland, but a few players endured miserable afternoons. Tuohy surely put paid to his World Cup hopes with some crucial missed tackles, notably for Henry Pyrgos' second-half try. D'Arcy was later stood up by Sean Lamont far too easily and may well have played his final game for Ireland. A sad way to go out for such a great servant.

Danny Cipriani: He didn’t do a lot wrong at Twickenham but the World Cup window appears to be closing on Cipriani with George Ford and Owen Farrell locked in. Cipriani came on at full-back against France and had little chance to sparkle, leaving him only next week in Paris to change Lancaster’s mind. Meanwhile potential fly-half back-up Henry Slade was impressing in midfield for the Red Rose.

France: First game of the year, yes, but France still looked lost in attack and showed a lack of cutting edge out wide aside from one kick-chase for Brice Dulin. All bluster and no flair, sadly.

Unnecessary alternate kits: Boks in all white v Pumas in mostly white meant it was hard to tell teams apart in wide angle shots. Stupid.