Who’s hot and who’s not!

Date published: November 13 2017

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 over the past week.


Soso Matiashvili never giving up: Perhaps the video footage of the weekend came from Tbilisi, as Georgia full-back Soso Matiashvili chased down his own kick and grounded just before the ball went dead. It was a lesson in never giving up. Here’s the brilliant shot again. Enjoy.

Ireland: Utterly dominant in all facets in Dublin against the Springboks. From front-row to wings Ireland impressed as they won the physical battle and also showed a clinical edge in attack. It would be unfair to pick out players from an all-round team performance but Andrew Conway thoroughly deserves this mention while the impact Rhys Ruddock made coming off the bench was hugely impressive. Ireland look a real force at the moment.

Samoa: After a week of off-field turmoil, to run Scotland so close deserves applause. Although it was the Scots’ record amount of points scored in a match against Samoa, the islanders also impressed with ball in hand, amassing 38 points. Tim Nanai-Williams can now also add fly-half to his CV as he starred at Murrayfield with a try while Josh Tyrell, Piula Faasalele, Kieran Fonotia and Ofisa Treviranus also claimed scores.

Joy Neville: Irish official Neville is set to make history next month by becoming the first woman to referee a European professional club fixture. She will take charge of the Challenge Cup match between Bordeaux-Bègles and Enisei-STM at Stade Chaban-Delmas on December 15 in another significant step in her career, this after refereeing the Women’s Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and England in August.

Sam Underhill: Alongside Mako Vunipola, Underhill’s performance was a big positive for England moving forward in November. The Bath flanker dominated every collision on his Test debut at Twickenham, making a total of 22 hits against Argentina. Rightly the fans’ man-of-the-match.


Poor Coenie: Springbok prop Oosthuizen had a nightmare of a day on Saturday. His knee injury in the first minute against Ireland in Dublin saw him forced off and ultimately ended his tour. What made the injury worse was a medic pulling a bag from under his foot and in doing so jerking his injured leg up. The pain was clear to see, as was prop Oosthuizen’s displeasure as he shot the culprit the dirtiest of looks.

Video credit Avan Lee

Welsh regions: What a terrible opening showing from the four Welsh sides in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. Cardiff Blues lost 57-0 at Newcastle, the Scarlets were thumped 40-0 at Exeter, the Dragons fell 41-7 to Northampton while the Ospreys went down 36-12 at home to Wasps. Horrendous.

South Africa: As solid as Ireland were, South Africa were equally bad. Unsurprisingly that performance has gone down terribly with their supporters and press, who continue to call for change at the top. It’s rare to see the Springboks bullied up front and with France so impressive during the second-half against New Zealand, their upcoming match in Paris is going to be another testing one. What a huge game.

Maori All Blacks: Friday’s result was a surprising one. The Maori All Blacks went down to a shock 19-15 defeat to the French Barbarians at Stade Chaban-Delmas, this after their 51-9 win over Canada. With plenty of quality in their XV, it was a disappointing night at the office.

Cross-code idea: No, no, no. A report in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph last week revealed the possibility of the All Blacks facing Australia’s rugby league side, the Kangaroos, in a game that could generate up to AUS$50 million. The proposed hybrid match would take place in Tokyo, according to the report, soon after the 2019 World Cup final. Financially it’s positive for those involved but as a spectacle, not for us.