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Rugby: Who’s Hot & Who’s Not?

What a week for Connacht! Matt Cassidy is here with this week’s edition of ‘Who’s Hot & Who’s Not?’ and it’s no surprise to see Pat Lam’s men lead the way.

Who’s Hot?

Connacht

“We are top of the league” was the chant the Clan Terrace roared when John Lacey blew his final whistle on Friday night. Pat Lam’s men have made it three wins from three as the Westerners fought back from 9-0 to topple league champions, Leinster.

It is their best start to a campaign since the competition switched to a league format. Kieron Marmion’s moment of genius was the highlight of a special night at the Sportsground. It is Glasgow up next in a top of the table clash and who would have thought we would be saying that at the start of the season? Maith sibh, Connacht!

Bath

45-0 was the result that sent shockwaves around the Aviva Premiership as Bath smashed the Leicester Tigers at the Rec. The West Country side were outstanding as they ran in five tries and annihilated their biggest rivals in a match that will never be forgotten by the home support.

Mike Ford’s charges sit top of the table with a 100 percent record. Can Bath take the final step and win the league for the first time since 1996?

Simon Zebo

The Munster wing bagged himself a fine first half hat-trick in his team’s facile bonus point victory over Zebre. His performance will keep him in the limelight as he fights to secure a regular starting Test spot.

Clermont Auvergne

Les Jaunards scored four tries against Lyon to win their fifth game of the season 43-12. Aurelien Rougerie, Benson Stanley, John Ulugia and Fritz Lee all crossed the whitewash to help Clermont extend their lead at the summit of the Top 14 to four points.

Can the men from the massif central reclaim the league title they won back in 2010 or will it end in the usual heartache?

_____

Who’s Not?

Aaron Cruden

Players are dropped from starting line-ups for a variety of reasons; poor form; injuries; attitude. All Blacks’ flyhalf, Cruden on the other hand decided not to show up for the flight to Buenos Aires and subsequently the plane took off without him.

Why did he miss the plane you ask? Because the Chiefs’ man was out on the town the night before and failed to wake up. Mór an t-amadán thú, Aaron!

Toulouse

The once revered aristocrats of European rugby are at one of their lowest troughs. Last week they lost three consecutive matches for the first time ever in the Guy Noves era. On Saturday, Racing Metro inflicted a fourth defeat in-a-row on the Rouge et Noir who only sit one point above the relegation zone.

Noves is the most successful coach in the history of Northern hemisphere rugby but he knows that past deeds cannot save him if results and performances do not improve quickly.

Brive

Another match and another player sent from the field for the Heineken Cup Champions of 1997. The French league season is only six rounds old but Brive have picked up 12 cards already (11 yellow & one red). With the score at 8-3 against Toulon, Brive were well in the game until lock, Peet Marais, decided to unload a number of punches and an elbow on Toulon second row, Romain Taofifenua at the 25 minute mark.

Needless to say Toulon took advantage of the extra man to hammer the home team 53 -13. Brive had the worst disciplinary record in the league last year with 32 cards. If they keep going the way they are, the Stade Amédée-Domenech side will easily surpass that tally.

London Welsh

The song “Always look on the bright side of life” is very much applicable to the Exiles at the moment. They only conceded 46 points this week to the Sale Sharks. This is an improvement on their previous two outings where the Oxford based side had a half century of points put on them as they struggle to come to terms with the standard of the Aviva Premiership.

Keep the chins up boys!

Matt Cassidy, Pundit Arena.

Twitter: @Cass_maitias

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.