Who’s hot and who’s not: Racing 92’s pulling power, Argentina and Ireland and concern for Rassie Erasmus

Jared Wright
Argentina celebrate winning Perth Sevens while Rassie Erasmus looks on.

Argentina celebrate winning Perth Sevens while Rassie Erasmus looks on.

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.


Racing 92’s big money signings: The French Top 14 giants landed another massive deal this week, unveiling the signing of Owen Farrell. The Saracens captain joins the star-studded side on a two-year deal next season, which is a huge statement of intent from the club but a major blow to the Premiership and England. However, for Racing fans they can look forward to a team that includes Farrell, Siya Kolisi and many more big names.

Full Contact: The new Netflix documentary was released this past week, and it promises to attract new fans to the sport. While there have been detractors who have not been overly impressed by the final product Netflix produced, on the whole, we enjoyed the series, from the incredible stories from Ellis Genge, Andrew Porter and Seb Negri to the antics of Finn Russell and Marcus Smith and the foul-mouthed outbursts of the coaches.

Tigers back up and running: After back-to-back losses in the Investec Champions Cup, Leicester needed a boost and got it on Friday as they claimed a crucial four league points with a narrow win over Harlequins at the Stoop. Tries from Jasper Wiese and former Harlequins favourite Mike Brown helped secure a victory that keeps their play-off hopes alive.

Argentina and Ireland in Perth: History was made on two fronts in the Perth leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series. For Argentina‘s men’s side they claimed back-to-back tournament triumphs with their victory in the final against Australia while Ireland‘s women won their first leg on the series with their own triumph over the hosts. Congratulations to both teams.

Northampton Saints keep marching on: Northampton are flying in 2023/24 after picking up their 10th straight victory after defeating Newcastle Falcons on Saturday. Phil Dowson’s side were without many of their England stars but still looked comfortable en route to a 38-13 bonus-point victory. They really have been a joy to watch this season.

Richie Mo’unga and Toshiba: All Blacks playmaker Mo’unga has enjoyed a stellar run of form in Japan, helping Todd Blackadder’s side to six successive victories in the Japanese Rugby League One. The fly-half played an influential role in the 28-12 win over Beauden Barrett’s Toyota Verblitz this past weekend, and now Toshiba trail Japanese heavyweights Panasonic Wild Knights by just two points on the overall table.


Rassie Erasmus hospitalised: SA Rugby confirmed on Saturday that the Springboks boss was hospitalised after undergoing a medical procedure for chemical burns. A statement from SA Rugby explained that Erasmus sustained the burns in a “freak accident using a powerful detergent product”. It’s concerning news for the two-time Rugby World Cup winner, and we hope that he is recovering well.

England injuries: Steve Borthwick’s player stocks were further depleted this week with injuries to Oscar Beard, Ollie Lawrence and Luke Cowan-Dickie, while sickness ruled Nick Iskiewe out. It’s a particularly big blow for Beard, who was in the running for a potential Test debut. We may well see the quartet feature in the Six Nations, but it’s always hugely disappointing for players when they are denied an international opportunity because of injury.

Crusaders travel without All Blacks: The highly-anticipated clash between the defending Super Rugby and United Rugby Championship champions lost a bit of spark this week when the ‘Saders named their travelling squad bereft of all the All Blacks who featured at the Rugby World Cup. We always knew that Munster’s Ireland internationals would not feature, but with so many stars now missing, it isn’t quite the clash of champions we were initially promised.

EPCR disciplinary decision: Even refereeing legend Nigel Owens had to come out this week and question the disciplinary panels after some perplexing decisions. Describing Josh Caulfield’s stamp in the recent Investec Champions Cup clash between Connacht v Bristol Bears as reckless but deeming that it didn’t reach the red card threshold made little sense if any.

Luckless Anthony Jelonch: The French flanker sustained an ACL injury during the 2023 Six Nations and recovered in time to feature at the Rugby World Cup. Now looking to make his mark again in 2024, he was hit with another cruel injury blow, sustaining an ACL injury to his other knee and has been ruled out of the Championship. He just can’t catch a break.

READ MORE: Five talking points ahead of the Six Nations including absent friends and big boots to fill