Who’s hot and who’s not: Referee’s momentous occasion, red hot Saints and World Rugby’s law change

Jared Wright
Who's hot and who's not image 13 May 2024.jpg

Scottish referee Hollie Davidson and World Rugby's scrum law change feature in Who's hot and who's not this week.

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.

THEY’RE ON FIRE!

Hollie Davidson: The Scottish referee will become the first woman to referee a Springboks match when they face Portugal in their historic first-ever meeting in Bloemfontein in July. It’s a momentous honour for the match official who thoroughly deserves the opportunity after thriving in the United Rugby Championship (URC).

Bulls contracts and results: It was a rather successful week for the men from Pretoria, with the Bulls announcing that a host of top players have signed extensions with the side before they went on to defeat URC table-toppers Glasgow Warriors 40-34.

High-flying Sarries: Saracens edged ever closer to securing a home semi-final by defeating a red-hot Bristol outfit. The Bears were on a six-match winning streak in the Premiership, but Mark McCall’s side fronted up to the challenge and came out on top with a 41-20 victory this week, sealing a home play-off match.

Northampton seal semi-final in emphatic fashion: Saints became the first team to seal their place in the Premiership semi-finals and did it in style, thrashing Gloucester NINETY-NIL. They will now be able to rest players in the final week of the regular season if they wish to.

Try scoring machine TJ: The veteran All Blacks scrum-half is loving life as the top try scorer in Super Rugby history and after going ahead of ex-Hurricanes teammate Julian Savea last week, he extended his lead on top of the charts against the Blues. The Hurricanes would ultimately fall to a 31-27 defeat to the Aucklanders.

All Blacks wing powers Blues to crucial win over Hurricanes to go top of Super Rugby Pacific

The Reds and superstar rookie: It’s been some three weeks for Reds’ rookie Tim Ryan, aka the Junkyard Dog, scoring a stunning hat-trick on his starting debut, then defeating the Crusaders in Christchurch and the speedster was up to his usual tricks against the Rebels inspiring his side to a narrow 26-22 victory.

COLD AS ICE!

World Rugby’s law change: The game’s governing body announced three ‘fan-focused’ law amendments and while the banning of the croc roll and Dupont law were both well received, removing the scrum option from a free-kick was not. Supporters were left perplexed as to which fans World Rugby were making the changes for, and at Planet Rugby HQ, we were also left scratching our heads. The scrum is a sacred part of rugby and should be treated as such and not be put on death row.

Sharks: From red-hot and securing a place in the Challenge Cup final to ice cold to falling to a defeat at home to Benetton. It was not just the fact that they lost to the side that their fellow finalist defeated but also the fact that they lost high-end players to injury and, on top of that, saw a player get red-carded.

Gloucester: The Cherry and Whites were written off for the Premiership clash against table-toppers Northampton Saints, but few would have guessed the margin of their defeat. The 90-0 loss is the second-biggest margin of defeat in the modern era of the Premiership and was more of a training ground run than anything else. With the league effectively ring-fenced, there was no need for Gloucester to risk their stars, so they didn’t.

Schalk Brits’ snub: Back in 2019, many were surprised that the Springboks hooker turned out for the Bulls instead of his former team, the Stormers, but the ex-Saracens man revealed this week the brutal rejection that he received. He was told in no uncertain terms that there was no place for him at his old team and by text message, no less. Poor form.

Montpellier: It’s just not happening for the Top 14 side this season, as they edged closer to putting their status in France’s highest division on the line in the promotion-relegation play-off. They fell to a sixth successive defeat in all competitions and fifth in the Top 14. This despite leading Castres 23-13 at half-time.

READ MORE: Premiership Team of the Week: David Campese rewards Northampton Saints after one-sided win over Gloucester