Who’s hot and who’s not: Mateo Carreras and a major shock catch the eye while Owen Farrell technique and Six Nations concerns grow

Adam Kyriacou
It’s time for our Monday wrap of who has their name in lights and who is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons after the weekend. Including Mateo Carerras, Siya Kolisi, Owen Farrell and more... Hot and Not

It’s time for our Monday wrap of who has their name in lights and who is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons after the weekend.


Mateo Carreras: Last week, we praised Santiago Carreras and this week, it is his namesake’s turn after Mateo stormed to a first-half hat-trick against Leicester Tigers, helping Newcastle Falcons to a 45-26 win. The 21-point margin is Newcastle’s biggest in their history against the defending champions. He’s now the league’s top scorer with 11 tries, going ahead of Max Malins and Ollie Hassell-Collins, both on nine.

Nick Evans: Big congratulations to the Harlequins attack coach, as he was confirmed as the newest addition to Steve Borthwick’s coaching team at England. While the deal is a temporary one for the Six Nations, after which he will return to Quins, it’s safe to say that if the former All Blacks fly-half makes a good impression, it won’t be long until he is a permanent part of Borthwick’s staff. Harlequins’ entertaining style en route to the Premiership title – with Marcus Smith dictating shackle free from 10 – is just what England fans will now be desperate to see.

Siya Kolisi: Speaking of big moves and the Springboks captain is set to leave the Sharks after taking up a big-money deal at Racing 92 after the Rugby World Cup. SA Rugby were understandably disappointed to lose such a pivotal figure in the game from its shores, but they wished Kolisi well as he prepares to embark on a new chapter in his rugby career. “At my age and at this time of my life, I also have to make decisions for my family.” That is completely understandable, and Racing 92 are getting a player at the peak of his powers, if 2022 is anything to go by.

Caldy: The shock of the past weekend came in the Championship, where the newly-promoted Caldy stunned table toppers Ealing 26-24 at Paton Field. Down 10-0 at the break, Caldy fought back to beat the Trailfinders thanks to Nick Royle’s try and a hat-trick from Louis Beer in what’s only their third win of the season. It’s not their first scalp of 2022/23 though, as Ealing join Cornish Pirates in being stunned by Caldy.

Glasgow Warriors: The streak continues for Glasgow as that’s now six games won in a row in all competitions. Their latest scalp on this remarkable run was the United Rugby Championship holders, the Stormers on Sunday, thanks to two tries from Sebastian Cancelliere and one apiece from Kyle Steyn and Huw Jones. The Warriors have beaten Zebre Parma, Bath, Perpignan, Edinburgh (twice) and now the men from Cape Town in an entertaining game. They will fancy their chances of continuing the streak, too, with Perpignan next on their schedule.


Ulster: Dan McFarland’s side became the first Irish province to lose to an Italian United Rugby Championship team since 2017 as Rhyno Smith’s late penalty snatched a 31-29 victory for Benetton on Saturday. It’s been a challenging start to the year for Ulster, who suffered a late narrow defeat to Munster on New Year’s Day, with Ben Healy scoring and converting a try to seal a 15-14 win. They have now lost five of their last six matches, which includes a 39-0 defeat to Sale Sharks. It doesn’t get any easier for the Irish side, who face the daunting task of tackling the Champions Cup holders La Rochelle in Round Three this coming weekend before home fixtures against Sale Sharks and the Stormers.

Owen Farrell’s tackle technique: After being hailed as a once-in-a-generation player by Saracens coach Joe Shaw, after he delivered an outstanding performance in Saracens’ Round 14 Premiership win over Exeter Chiefs, fly-half Farrell was in the news for the wrong reasons after their triumph over Gloucester at Kingsholm on Friday. The 31-year-old escaped sanction on the pitch for a shoulder-led high tackle on Cherry and Whites replacement back-row Jack Clement during the latter stages of the game. After his unpunished indiscretion, the England star proceeded to slot a match-winning drop goal, much to the chagrin of the home side’s fans. Farrell’s hit on Clement will once again bring his tackling technique into question after several similar incidents previously in his career, with Monday’s citing inevitable for the playmaker.

Leicester Tigers: While credit must go to the aforementioned Newcastle Falcons as they ended a four-year wait for a Premiership win over the Tigers, it has been a disappointing past couple of outings for Leicester. On the back of the hammering they took on the road at Sale, the latest defeat to the Falcons was also pretty comfortable for the victors. It must have been tough for Leicester losing both Steve Borthwick and Kevin Sinfield from their coaching setup, and while the results won’t set alarm bells ringing just yet, they need a victory to steady the ship.

Tom Curry concern: England will be sweating over the fitness of crucial player Curry after he hobbled from the action for Sale in their Premiership victory over Harlequins on Sunday. A hamstring injury suffered in the 16th minute cut his afternoon short at the Stoop, and both club and country will now be holding their breath over the results of a scan on the problem. England desperately need his quality in the back-row this Six Nations if they are to get off on the right foot under Borthwick, so fingers crossed it’s only a minor issue for the openside.

Blows for Italy and Scotland: Speaking of injury problems and the Azzurri and Scotland suffered setbacks in their preparations for the Six Nations after fly-half pair Paolo Garbisi and Adam Hastings were ruled out. While Garbisi is expected to return after the opening three games, it’s still a sizeable blow for Kieran Crowley’s men as he’s a key cog in their machine. For Hastings, the news is even worse, as he will miss the entire Championship after requiring surgery on an injured shoulder. We wish both pivots the best in their respective recoveries.

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