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Rugby: Who’s Hot & Who’s Not?

Matt Cassidy is here for this week’s edition of ‘Who’s Hot & Who’s Not’ in a week where we bid farewell to the legendary Honey Badger.

Who’s Hot?

Nick Cummins

The wacky Wallaby wing will not be representing Australia at next year’s World Cup after signing a lucrative contract with West Red Sparks in Japan. There is nothing new about players from the Southern Hemisphere chasing coin instead of caps but the Honey Badger as per usual has his own unique reason.

It was revealed that Cummins’ relocation is to better the life of his family of which there are eight children. His father, who looks after the family on his own following the death of the mother, has prostate cancer and two of Cummins’ siblings have Cystic Fibrosis. Cummins may have a few screws loose up top but one thing is for sure that the Western Force star has a heart that is as a golden as an Aussie jersey. He also bagged himself a try against the Reds at the weekend. Legend!

Here’s the Honey Badger’s last interview with Western Force. Brilliant:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMXlkTStO1k

And here’s some extra Honey Badger explaining where he got his nickname from:

 

NSW Waratahs

It was another thumping win for ‘Tahs as they defeated the Highlanders 44-16 in Sydney on Sunday. Michael Cheika’s men crossed the whitewash six times to secure the league leaders’ shield. With the pressure off, having achieved playoff home advantage, the Sydney siders can concentrate on the State of Origin match and heaping more woe on their fierce rivals, the Queensland Reds. Are the Waratahs the champions in waiting?

Crusaders

Super Rugby’s most successful franchise took another step to a home semi-final with a 21-13 victory over the Blues. The Christchurch based side had its flying Fijian winger, Nemani Nadolo, back from international duty and the big man did not disappoint as he scored a brace of tries. It was certainly not a vintage performance by the Crusaders but coach, Todd Blackadder, will care little for that and the sight of Dan Carter starting his first match of 2014 will provide much cheer to the Canterbury faithful. Will the seven times champions add another title to their bulging trophy cabinet?

Namibia

The Welwitschias will be at next year’s World Cup after an 89-10 win over Madagascar. Namibia needed a favour from Zimbabwe in order to progress and a favour they got, allowing them to book their place at rugby’s jamboree. Their dubious honour is to face the All Blacks, Argentina, Tonga and Georgia in Pool C.

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Who’s Not?

Ulster

No one knows what is happening at the Northern Province, least of all the men in charge it seems. After the shock departure of Director of Rugby, David Humphreys, to Gloucester, the Ulster rugby saga took another twist as Chief Executive, Shane Logan gave Mark Anscombe his P45. The sacking of Anscombe is a strange move as the Kiwi coach was handed a contract extension earlier in the season and his son, Chiefs’ Gareth Anscombe, described the Ulster hierarchy as “clowns.” There is never a dull moment in Belfast during the summer and Ulster rugby is making sure that 2014 is not any different.

Australian Rugby Union

Nick Cummins’ announcement that he is leaving Down Under to chase the Yen in Japan is another blow to the ARU after Captain Ben Mowen decided to move to Toulon and lock, Kane Douglas to Leinster. Cummins is undoubtedly ARU’s biggest marketing tool at present and his departure will be a blow to a sport that is struggling for crowd and playing numbers in Australia. The Union is not exactly flush at the moment so the movement of its prized assets to the biggest overseas’ bidder looks likely to continue, resulting in more players being ineligible to play for the national team. It may be time for the Wallabies to abandon the policy of selecting only Aussie based players or else there may be no one left to pick.

Sharks

Their slump continued as they lost to basement team, the Cheetahs, in Bloemfontein. Consecutive defeats have left the men from Durban in third place and in danger of missing out on a home semi-final. This would be a disaster for the Sharks as they have been in the top two all season. Have Jake White’s men shot their bolt?

Kenya

The Kenyan sevens side has made major improvements on the World Series circuit and on Sunday it looked like the fifteen man team was about to take the giant leap when they played Zimbabwe in a World Cup qualifying match. Two match points from the game would have secured Kenya’s place at next year’s World Cup but they conspired to lose 28-10 meaning Namibia will be going to England and not Kenya.

Matt Cassidy, Pundit Arena.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @Cass_maitias.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.