Who’s hot… and who’s not!

Date published: April 4 2016

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!

Chiefs: Playing rugby from another planet. Over the last four weeks the Chiefs have travelled to Port Elizabeth, Buenos Aires, back to Hamilton and then onto Canberra and in the process outscored their opponents 189-83 to storm to the top of the overall standings. James Lowe, Charle Ngatai, Aaron Cruden and of course Damien McKenzie are all on fire behind a phenomenal pack. We can’t get enough of them.

Crusaders: Make that two out of two in South Africa for Todd Blackadder’s men – some of their handling against the Lions at Ellis Park was phenomenal. Deserving winners running in six tries, including a Ryan Crotty hat-trick. Right in the hunt for the playoff spots as Richie Mo’unga bounced back.

Saracens: Europe’s form side welcomed back their internationals and put Bath away with ease at The Rec on Friday night – just the performance they wanted before next week’s Champions Cup quarter-final. Is this the season they finally break their European duck?

Clermont: Bided their time against Toulon before striking late with the game’s only try in Marseille. It’s been a rocky season for Franck Azema and his squad but Sunday marked their seventh straight league win, a run that now has them six points clear of second-placed Montpellier. Ticking along nicely.

Ulster: Simply had to win against league leaders Connacht to keep their top four hopes alive and they pulled it off. It sure wasn’t pretty, and they benefited from Connacht’s injury crisis at fly-half, but four points are four points. The hard work isn’t over, but this was a start.

Romain Poite: Handled a difficult situation in exemplary fashion, after…

Stone Cold!

Silvere Tian: … the Oyonnax winger completely lost any trace of his cool. Word of advice – telling Poite “you’re pissing me off” after being yellow carded isn’t going to go down well. A long ban surely awaits, especially after Tian’s actions on the touchline at the end of the game. Madness.

Waratahs: Setting themselves up for a huge comeback didn’t work against the Highlanders, nor did it on Sunday versus the Rebels. Shocking discipline and so many basic mistakes in possession, this is proving to be a year to forget for the 2014 champions.

Zebre: Nilled for the third straight game. How is this even possible? Forget all that optimism surrounding Zebre’s early season form. In March they lost 32-0, 47-0 and 29-0. A complete shambles.

Newcastle and London Irish: Losses on the weekend set the Premiership’s two strugglers up for a pivotal game next weekend at Kingston Park with three rounds to go. Win and you would imagine that Newcastle, four points above Irish, would be safe.