Who’s hot… and who’s not!

Date published: August 3 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!

Uruguay: The South Americans' preparations for the Rugby World Cup received a significant boost after their win over a second-string Argentina XV on Saturday. Little is expected of Uruguay at the World Cup but this win will do them the world of good, with fly-half Felipe Birches impressing off the kicking tee with his five penalties.

Michael Hooper: SANZAR’s failed appeal regarding his one-week ban means Hooper is available to face New Zealand this weekend – a win for the player and the Wallabies but especially for Hooper given the outstanding form of David Pocock in recent weeks. Whether you agree with the length of his ban or not is up for debate.

Sam Burgess: After England’s camp in Denver it appears Burgess is right in contention for England’s final 31-man group, with the cross-code convert in the mix to secure the fourth centre spot behind Brad Barritt, Luther Burrell and Jonathan Joseph. The main opposition for Burgess it seems is Henry Slade, with the two set to pair up against France on August 15 in midfield.

Patrick Osborne: Whether he plays or not against Australia is one thing, but Osborne’s impressive form has been rewarded with a call-up by the All Blacks to try and make an impression in training this week. It’s no more than he deserves after a breakout season, where despite finishing in the shadow of Waisake Naholo he racked up eight tries and the same number of offloads as Sonny Bill Williams.

Fiji and Samoa: Neither side had it easy in the final round of pool games at the Pacific Nations Cup, 13-man Fiji only just held on against Japan while Samoa needed a last-gasp try to beat Canada. However they have both finished their pool matches unbeaten and will meet in the final in Canada today in a rematch of their 30-30 draw ten days ago. 

Tevita Cavubati: In addition to the two Pacific Nations Cup finalists, second row Cavubati deserves a special mention for his fantastic individual try against Japan last week. The giant lock showed a remarkable turn of speed as he picked the perfect line to sprint over from halfway. Leone Nakarawa isn't the only lock to watch out for in the Fijian ranks.

Get these guys a cup of warm soup!

Billy Twelvetrees and Kyle Eastmond: Despite having had chances to impress Stuart Lancaster over the last two years, including starts against Australia and New Zealand, both Twelvetrees and Eastmond appear set to be cut by England when they trim their 45-man squad next Friday. Had neither player been given a shot it would be another matter, but the noises coming out of the England camp suggest they haven’t done enough to force their way into the group.

Cian Healy’s recovery: Concerns persist over whether Healy will be ready in time to be named in Ireland’s World Cup squad. Losing such a key part of Ireland’s scrum and carrying game would be a big dent in their chances of winning the tournament and while there is still hope that Healy will be fit, Irish fans are being given a nervous wait.

Cory Jane: The loss of Waisake Naholo should have opened a door for Jane but now he is battling to force his way back into Steve Hansen’s thoughts after suffering that ankle sprain playing for the New Zealand Barbarians. Jane has endured a frustrating few years since winning the World Cup in 2011 and his bad luck could now cost him a spot on the plane to England.