HOT OR NOT: Virgil van Dijk’s return is a boost… as Springboks’ Rassie Erasmus crossed a thin line

HOT OR NOT: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp got the ultimate boost with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez returning… but South African Rassie Erasmus doesn’t cover himself in glory on Lions tour

It’s hot or not time if Sportsmails DANIEL MATTHEWS tells us what made him feel hot and cold this week…

HOT

VIRGIL VAN DYK

Nine months after Jordan Pickford cut him in half, Van Dijk returned to the Liverpool first team in a friendly against Hertha Berlin.

So did central defender Joe Gomez. What a boost for Jürgen Klopp.

Virgil van Dijk's return has given a huge boost to Liverpool and manager Jurgen Klopp

Virgil van Dijk’s return has given a huge boost to Liverpool and manager Jurgen Klopp

LEWIS HAMILTON

Remember when Bernie Ecclestone questioned Hamilton’s fighting spirit? Whatever you think of his driving style, Hamilton’s refusal to avoid important fights persists.

Now he is not afraid to goad governments. Ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton called the country’s proposed “anti-LGBT+” law unacceptable and cowardly. He was never one to stick with sports. And we can all be thankful for that.

LUTALO MOHAMMAD

Team GB’s pursuit of taekwondo gold was a story so close. Few viewers had any idea what they were watching.

But we were all caught up, thanks in large part to Mohammed in the BBC studio. The double Olympic medalist was charming, authoritative and insightful.

Ex-Team GB star Lutalo Muhammad reacts in disbelief when Bianca Walkden loses to Lee Da-bin

Ex-Team GB star Lutalo Muhammad reacts in disbelief when Bianca Walkden loses to Lee Da-bin

Ex-Team GB star Lutalo Muhammad reacts in disbelief when Bianca Walkden loses to Lee Da-bin

NOT

RASSION ERASMUS

We always hear about that fine line and where it sits between genius and barmy.

Where we place Rassie Erasmus after the past few days is a mystery.

World Rugby ‘noted’ the hour-long monologue in which the Springboks director of rugby lashed out at the umpires in the first Lions Test. The whole thing was insane and rather inappropriate.

Rassie Erasmus's antics have dominated the headlines ahead of the second Test against the Lions

Rassie Erasmus's antics have dominated the headlines ahead of the second Test against the Lions

Rassie Erasmus’s antics have dominated the headlines ahead of the second Test against the Lions

UK ROWING

The time for blame would always come – Britain’s worst Olympic regatta since 1976 couldn’t pass without a period of introspection.

But no one wins if the mud-slinging starts before the oars are even dry. ‘Smug’ pastors, coaches accused of ‘destroying’ athletes… not a good impression.

In Tokyo, Team GB had their worst Olympic regatta performance since 1976

In Tokyo, Team GB had their worst Olympic regatta performance since 1976

In Tokyo, Team GB had their worst Olympic regatta performance since 1976

the ROC

You can’t blame the Russian athletes for that: all 335, decked out in those ‘neutral’ colors of red, white and blue.

They were allowed to participate, some would always be victorious.

But the sight of ‘ROC’ at the top of Tokyo’s medal list isn’t the best advertisement for these Games – or the fight against state-sponsored doping.

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