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Rugby: Who’s Hot & Who’s Not?

Who’s Hot

Andrew Trimble

The Coleraine man has had a stellar season which was recognised with him sweeping up at the Ulster and Ireland rugby award ceremonies. Trimble was named IRUPA Players Player of the year for his magnificent Six Nations campaign. Ulster will be hoping for two more brilliant showings by the winger in their pursuit of Pro 12 glory. Maith an fear, Andrew!

Ulster

Mark Anscombe selected a weakened Ulster side in order to rest key individuals for the upcoming semi-final but his young charges did not let their head coach down. The Northern Province’s youngsters tackled and harried Munster into errors and disrupted the Reds’ rhythm. Ulster will hope that the momentum that the second string created will be carried forward into their battle with Leinster on Saturday in Dublin.

This try from Michael Heaney stood out for the Ulstermen:

Castres

They shocked the rugby world last year when they defeated Toulon in the Top 14 final to claim the French title, and on Saturday afternoon Castres were up to their old tricks again. The French Champions stormed the Stade Marcel Michelin to take their place in the final four of France’s domestic competition. Castres were massive underdogs against Clermont Auvergne but the Stade Pierre Antoine outfit showed huge courage and grit as they frustrated the home team to come away with a 22-16 victory. Are the Midi- Pyrénées’ team going to claim back to back Top 14 titles?

New Zealand Sevens

When it comes to the shortened form of the union game, they are out on their own. New Zealand won their twelfth World Series title by winning the London leg with a thrilling 52-33 victory over their Antipodean rivals, Australia. The Blacks were trailing 21-0 after a blistering start by the Aussies but Gordon Tietjens’ men regrouped to cross the whitewash eight times. Will anyone be any able to stop the Kiwis from ruling the roost again in 2015?


 

Who’s Not

Guy Noves, Toulouse’s medical staff & Jérôme Garçes

The decision to allow inside centre, Florian Fritz was to put it simply, a disgrace! Fritz’s head collided with Francois Van der Merwe’s knee resulting in the French international sustaining a nasty gash. Covered in blood, Fritz wanted to play on and had to be dragged off the paddock.

It was clear to all witnesses that he had not a clue whether he was on a rugby pitch or the moon and that he was concussed. However, to everyone’s amazement Fritz came back out to play the last six minutes of the first half.

It is very poor practice by head coach Noves and his medical team to allow a man who was clearly not fit to return to the field of play and risk further injury. And even if Toulouse’s staff wanted him to return, referee Garçes should have used his authority not to let Fritz back on. The time has come for the IRB sort out the concussion conundrum because Florian Fritz was lucky no further damage was done. Another player may not be so fortunate. A bad night for the game of rugby.

Check out our article on Florian Fritz’s injury and the duty of care.

Munster

Rob Penney’s last game at Thomond Park ended in a dreadful loss to an under strength Ulster team. Munster lacked accuracy, intensity and determination as they produced one of their worst performances of the season in horrendous conditions. JJ Hanrahan had two late opportunities to snatch victory but the young Kerry man pushed his drop goal attempt and penalty shot wide of the posts. The Reds will have to improve massively if they wish to win against a high-flying Glasgow in Scotstoun next Friday.

Clermont Auvergne

Les Jaunards’ season has come to an abrupt end with an unexpected loss at home to French Champions, Castres. Head coach, Vern Cotter will be annoyed that his squad of superstars has once again caved into the pressure of knock out games. Another year without any silverware for the Montferrand team and their remarkable record at the Stade Marcel Michelin of 77 wins in-a-row in tatters.

London Wasps

The High Wycombe side are preparing for a crucial two-legged playoff with Stade Français for qualification into next year’s Heineken Cup and if Saturday’s performance at Franklin’s Gardens is anything to go by, they might as well not turn up. Wasps were smashed by Northampton 74-13, conceding eleven tries in the process. The result will have stung head coach, Dai Young, and you can bet your bottom dollar that training for the Wasps will be hellish this week. Embarrassing!

Matt Cassidy, Pundit Arena.

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