The 6 Nations kicks off on Friday night, but before then you might want to set up your fantasy rugby team for what is set to be another belter of a campaign.
The rest of the week be like…
Wednesday – ?
Thursday – ?
Friday – ?
Saturday – ?
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) January 30, 2019
Things are a little different this year in terms of the scoring and it has made for a more interesting system. Here’s a short run through.
Firstly, and most importantly, you are given a budget of 240 stars to spend on your perfect 18-man squad. With players ranging from nine to sixteen stars in value.
In terms of the scoring, there are team points awarded to players with a home win worth 12 points, while an away win will bag a player 18 points. The margin of a victory or loss will give you +/- 0.5 points respectively.
The individual marks have been improved from last season, with tackles being doubled and now counting as one point per tackle. For every defender beaten a player will receive two points.
The most noticeable marks are for a try, with a forward being awarded 18 points for touching down, while a back will gain you 15. A man of the match performance by a player will get you 15 points too.
The things to avoid are players that are prone to receiving yellow or red cards as they will see you lose five or eight points respectively.
There are a few other ways to gain points such as a kick from the tee counting as three points be it from a penalty or conversion. Have a look at the other ways to gain points if you are interested.
Before going through players be sure to remember that you can only have a maximum of four players from any nation.
So, who leads the lines in terms of players? Price wise, last years grand slam winners, Ireland, have four players costing 16 stars (Rory Best, Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, Jacob Stockdale), with Wales’ George North the only other player to cost the same.
When picking your team, it is vital to remember that you are looking for a balance between who is good defensively, with an eye towards who is good going forward.
Who would make your fantasy team? This is the most selected back-three so far!
? Stockdale on 43% of teams
? Hogg on 50% of teams
? North on 28% of teams
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) January 29, 2019
You must select a captain each week, it is advised to pick a player that is a first-team regular as they receive an extra 20 points and their score gets doubled.
The likes of Sexton, Stockdale, Owen Farrell, Stuart Hogg and so on are likely to get the most game time and score plenty of points. So, it may be worthwhile investing some stars in a reliable captain.
Some players that might be worth while taking a punt on would be Italy’s Tomasso Allan, Scotland’s Peter Horne, or England’s Joe Cokanasiga. All of which are 11 stars and are in with a shout of starting most games.
The top players cost the most and are who you want in your team but, there are some bargains to be had. Especially when it comes to the bench with a “super sub” now available.
This is a player that you select on your three-man bench who, if they come on, will have their score tripled.
When looking for players here it is hard to look by Irish and Munster duo, Tadhg Beirne and Joey Carbery. With huge competition for places in the Irish starting 15 it will be hard for either to play the full 80 minutes but are likely to come off the bench.
Beirne will cost you 11 stars, with Carbery a deal at only 10.
Outside of the Irish, Uini Atonio of France, a powerhouse, is worth 10 stars, while Wales’ Jake Ball and England’s Brad Shields only cost nine.
Going into week one, check out who is playing who and keep an eye out for team announcements as the deadline to change your team isn’t until the first game kicks off at 20 00 on Friday.
One other tip would be to select players that may not be a No 10 but kick as they will gain more points.
So, that’s it. As if you needed anything else to look forward to before Friday, here’s something else.
Pivac names squad for 2021 Six Nations
The squad features one uncapped player, Scarlets back-row Josh Macleod, who was named in the autumn squad last year but didn’t feature after picking up an injury before the campaign began.
Four players who made their international debuts in that campaign, Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy, Johnny Williams and Louis Rees-Zammit are all included.
Rhys Carre, Wyn Jones and Rhodri Jones (last appearance for Wales v South Africa in 2018) are named as the looseheads in the squad with Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias and Ken Owens (who missed the autumn campaign through injury) the hookers. Leon Brown, Tomas Francis and Dillon Lewis are the three named tight-heads.
Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Will Rowlands and Cory Hill are included as the second-rows.
Dan Lydiate returns to the international set-up (last appearance v Australia in 2018) and is named alongside Josh Navidi, Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau, Macleod and Justin Tipuric.
Hardy who made his debut back in November is named as one of three scrum-halves along with Gareth Davies and Tomos Williams, who has returned from injury. Dan Biggar, Jarrod Evans and Sheedy are the three fly-halves.
Johnny Williams, Jonathan Davies, Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin are named as the centres with George North, Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Rees-Zammit, Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams named as Wales’ back-three options.
“We are hugely looking forward to meeting up as a squad on Monday and to the forthcoming campaign,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.
“The Guinness Six Nations is an important tournament and we have selected a squad accordingly.
“As we consistently spoke about, the autumn for us was about opportunity and development, looking ahead to RWC 2023 and it served that purpose for us.
“This campaign is different, it is tournament rugby and we are excited to get going and to play our part.
“We have picked a squad for this tournament based on form and we are excited to meet up on Monday and to get our preparation underway.”
Scotland name Six Nations squad.
The group, split between 20 forwards and 15 backs, sees eight new players called up who did not feature in the group that contested the recent 2020 Autumn Nations Cup.
In the pack Glasgow Warriors hooker George Turner is selected and joined in the front row by Zander Fagerson and Oli Kebble from Glasgow Warriors, alongside Edinburgh Rugby representatives WP Nel, Rory Sutherland and Simon Berghan.
Glasgow Warriors’ lock pairing Richie Gray and Scott Cummings, Exeter Chief, Jonny Gray are called up, along with Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist who left the ANC squad with an injury before the opening match.
Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie, who have both recently re-signed to long-term deals to stay at Edinburgh Rugby, are joined as back-row options by Glasgow Warrior Matt Fagerson and Scarlet’s Blade Thomson.
Gregor Townsend has chosen just two scrum-half’s for this campaign with Glasgow Warriors’ Ali Price and Harlequins’ Scott Steele selected.
Linking up at half-back will be Racing 92’s Finn Russell who returns following an injury sustained in the concluding match of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations vs Wales and Edinburgh’s Jaco Van de Walt who made his Scotland debut in the ANC semi-final against Ireland.
Gloucester’s Chris Harris, Saracen Duncan Taylor, Glasgow Warrior Huw Jones and Harlequins’ James Lang are selected at centre.
In the back three Scotland Captain Stuart Hogg is joined by Edinburgh Rugby trio Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham and Duhan van de Merwe and Saracens’ Sean Maitland.
With an eye to the future three additional players have been invited to train with the squad during the campaign. Edinburgh Rugby back row forward, Rory Darge, Glasgow Warriors pair winger, Rufus MacLean and scrum-half, Jamie Dobie will join up with the squad, which goes into camp on Sunday.
Speaking on the squad selection Gregor Townsend said: “As coaches we have selected a group which we believe can build on the work our players put in throughout the recent Autumn Nations Cup campaign and kick on again in terms of performance levels.
“The depth we have across the squad enables us to bring in some new players who have excelled in recent weeks and others who we believe can perform at Test level.
“Our tournament gets off to a fantastic start with a fixture we look forward to every year against England and the opportunity to win back the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham.
“We are very aware how different this year’s competition will be due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it also provides a huge amount of positivity and enjoyment for millions of supporters and we are looking forward to contesting every match and giving this championship our very best.”
Paul O’Connell Joins Ireland Coaching Group
Former Ireland captain Paul O’Connell has joined the Ireland national coaching group as forwards coach with Simon Easterby to focus on defence.
Paul was capped 108 times by Ireland and captained the team to Six Nations success in 2014. O’Connell’s distinguished playing career also included seven Test match appearances for the British & Ireland Lions across three tours and two Heineken Cup titles with Munster.
Since retiring from playing in 2015, Paul has held coaching positions with the Munster Academy, Ireland Under-20s and Top 14 side Stade Francais.
“I am really looking forward to working with Andy and the rest of the coaching group. I worked with Simon as a player and am looking forward to working with him again. It’s an exciting young group of players to be involved with and there are talented forwards coming through across the four provinces that will no doubt be pushing for international selection in the coming months and years.”
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell commented:
“Paul brings a wealth of rugby knowledge with him and as forwards coach he will have responsibility for the forwards including the line-out working alongside John (Fogarty). He will also be another strong voice and leader within the group.
“Simon (Easterby) has a real passion for defence and having developed Ireland’s forward play over the past six years with the additional responsibility for the defence over the past 12 months, he will now be able to focus his energy and rugby intellect on this area of our game.
“The weekend’s Interpro games and the European fixtures in the weeks ahead will give players the opportunity to push for selection for the Six Nations squad. The squad will not be selected until after the Champions Cup Round 4 fixtures have been completed.”
IRFU Performance Director, David Nucifora, commented: “Paul is a young Irish coach with a huge amount of international rugby experience. We have been keen to find the right opportunity for him within Irish Rugby and we think the fit with the national squad will work well. He joins the national coaching group with immediate effect as they prepare for the upcoming Six Nations Championship.”