It's time for Planet Rugby's 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!
Saracens: The form team in Europe right now. Saturday’s thrashing of Worcester at Twickenham made it seven wins out of seven in all competitions for the Premiership champions, even with several of their top players rested. The perfect send-off for Ernst Joubert in his final game, as Saracens turned on the style with six tries.
Connacht: You can bet there was one hell of a party in Galway in Saturday night following Connacht’s first competitive win over Munster at Thomond Park since 1986(!) Best of all is that Pat Lam’s squad have reached the top of the PRO12 with seven wins out of eight this season by playing with plenty of ambition and skill. Bundee Aki’s spectacular finish was a great way to wrap up a famous win.
Toulon: How do you respond to a disastrous defeat in Europe? By making some history, that’s how. Toulon recorded a first ever win over Clermont at the Stade Marcel Michelin on Saturday and they did it comfortably, winning 35-9 and scoring four tries. Impressive.
Yann Lesgourges and Jules Plisson: Two Frenchman whose performances were essential parts of their teams’ victories. Lesgourges scored a hat-trick as Bordeaux-Bègles thrashed Pau, while Plisson kicked seven out of seven penalties as Stade Français edged out Grenoble.
WP Nel: Being a prop and getting your opposite man sin-binned for multiple scrum offences is basically hitting the jackpot. Man-of-the-match Nel did that twice for Edinburgh in their big win over the Dragons, as first Boris Stankovich then Phil Price spent time on the sidelines. Nel also scored a try to cap off a memorable night.
Johnny Williams: London Irish might be struggling (more on them later) but the 19-year-old is enjoying a dream start to his professional career. Williams scored twice on his Premiership debut against Wasps at Twickenham, after crossing the whitewash in the previous two weeks against Agen and Grenoble in the Challenge Cup to give him four tries from three games. Good work from the youngster.
Brrrrr someone get these guys a warm cup of soup!
Danny Cipriani: Sale needed their fly-half to step up after being awarded a late penalty against Newcastle, but Cipriani missed and as a result Sale had to settle for a draw. Two precious table points missed, after they missed a similar chance to defeat Harlequins earlier this season.
Oyonnax: More perilous signs for Oyonnax, who are already battling on two fronts in the Top 14 and Champions Cup. Brive’s Gaetan Germain picked them apart off the kicking tee in another heavy loss for a side who were indomitable at home last year, defeating Clermont and Toulon. That seems a long time ago now.
London Irish: Rock bottom of the Premiership with no points to their name following a fifth-straight Premiership loss on Saturday, this time to Wasps. Irish might have shown signs of promise and defended well at times, but the table doesn’t lie. All they want for Christmas is a win, and fast.
Nick Schonert’s face: Undoubtedly an accident, Maro Itoje’s stray boot did however leave Worcester prop Schonert requiring 40 stitches to his face after he suffered a gash that wasn’t for the faint of heart. Get well soon Nick.