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Guinness Six Nations Fantasy Rugby Guide; Round 4

With the penultimate round upon us returning stars are who you should be looking out for

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The second-last round of fixtures is here and with it we come near the end of this year’s fantasy rugby, so who do you need to consider buying points before the final round?

The three games this weekend have some returning stars to think about snapping up and some bargains to watch out for.

Scotland vs Wales is the first match of the weekend and there are a host of players to keep an eye on. For Scotland there is the return of fly-half Finn Russell who will certainly add a creative flair and at 13.9 stars may be worth a buy.

Blair Kinghorn, 15 stars, is at full-back for the hosts, with the ever-reliable
Jonny Gray, 12.2 stars, in the second-row and Josh Strauss, 12.1 stars, knuckling down in the back-row, a trio that could cause the Welsh some problems.

The surprise package on the Scottish team could in fact be scrum-half Ali Price, 12.1 stars, who comes in for Greig Laidlaw and will be hoping to put in a good showing with a rare chance to start.

On the other side, Wales, who are the only team still in the running for the Grand Slam, have a star-studded XV. The pick of the bunch are full-back Liam Williams and wing George North, who are pricy at 16.9 stars a piece but could reap your team rewards.

Elsewhere, Garath Davies, 13.9 stars, could look to target Ali Price at scrum-half, and could cause the Scots many problems at the break-down if he can get the better of Price.

Josh Navidi, 15.4 stars, has been outstanding so far in the competition and would add to any team. Adam Beard, 10.7 stars, who comes in for the injured Jake Ball will hope to cease his chance so expect a big performance.

The second game on Saturday sees England host Italy, as they hope to bounce back from their loss to Wales.

This year’s top try scorer, Jonny May, 17.5 stars, is an obvious choice to have on the wing if you can afford him. The same goes for fly-half and captain Owen Farrell, 16.6 stars.

Another option from the English back-line is Manu Tuilagi, 14.1 stars, who will surely have opportunities with Ben Te’o coming in aloingside him.

In the pack, Billy Vunipola, 15.2 stars, is the pick of the bunch, and Joe Launchbury, 15.1 stars, is one to keep an eye on as he returns to the team.

The visitors, who will be hoping for an upset, are welcoming back some key men following their defeat to Ireland in round 3.

Captain Sergio Parisse, 11.1 stars, will want to inspire his team after missing out against the Irish. Alongside him in the back-row are Sebastian Negri, 10.7 stars, and Abraham Steyn, 10.7 stars, who have been shining lights for the Azzurri so far.

Another man to consider in the Italian pack is Dean Budd, and at 9.4 stars could prove a great buy.

Outside of the pack, scrum-half Tito Tebaldi, 9.7 stars, is a live-wire and if he can produce the sort of performance that he did last time out he could gain your team a lot of points.

The final game of the weekend sees an out of sorts Ireland team seek form against a resurgent French side, in what could be a brilliant game.

The home sides returning stars are ones to watch as they seek to put Ireland’s poor form behind them. Among them are Garry Ringrose and CJ Stander at 14.1 stars each, while James Ryan, 13 stars, and Cian Healy, 15 stars, also return.

The most expensive player in the game is Ireland’s Jacob Stockdale, 17.9 stars, and if they cash is available, he is highly recommended.

The away side, who were highly impressive against Scotland two week’s ago, have kept the same XV and with that in mind, here’s some names for thought.

Thomas Ramos, 11.6 stars, not only is he great at gaining metres he also kicks so will get you points from the boot too. Gael Fickou, 15.2 stars, showed his talent against the Scots and if he gets going again could cause the Irish defence many issues.

Youngster Romain Ntamack, 13.8 stars, retains his No 10 jersey and will be in a confident mood in the Aviva on Sunday. Captain Guilham Guirado, 14.2 stars, and No 8 Louis Picamoles, 14.7 stars, are two players that will be vital if France are to win and always rack up the tackles and small metres.

In terms of bargains, England’s Joe Cokanasiga, 10.5 stars, makes his first start in the competition for the men in white and is electric. Luca Bigi, 8.7 stars, is a solid option at hooker for Italy, while young Darcy Graham of Scotland, 10 stars, may be worth a punt.

On the Welsh side Thomas Francais, 12.1 stars, is one of the cheapest on the team and could put in a big performance. In terms of the final game, Ireland’s Josh van der Flier, 11.5 stars and France’s Jefferson Poirot, 10.1 stars, are reliable men to have on a team.

Lastly, in the super sub department each team has standout players.

Greig Laidlaw, 13.6 stars, is on the bench for the Scots and will be raring to go if he gets on, while Dan Bigger, 15.8 stars, will be hoping to show his incredible ability like he did against the English from the bench once more.

Henry Slade, 14.7 stars, will be a menace to the Italian side if he comes on near the end due to his pace and skill-set, and Cherif Traore, 9 stars, will hope to have a big impact from the opposition dug-out.

Ultan Dillane has impressed Joe Schmidt so much that he keeps Tadhg Beirne out of Ireland’s 23 and at 11.4 stars could be a key man to your side. Maxime Medard, 13.4 stars, always causes problems for Ireland and could be introduced at any point making him a valuable player to have amongst your ranks.

Those are the players to watch out for before the final round comes up next weekend and hopefully some will set you up nicely before the tournaments concluding round.


6 Nations

‘It’s A Great Appointment’ – Farrell On Murphy’s Move To Ulster

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With Dan McFarland stepping down as Ulster head coach this week, it has been confirmed that Murphy will take over the role on an interim basis following the conclusion of the Under-20 Six Nations Championship.

The Ireland Under-20s are in title contention again thanks to two opening wins, with Murphy having overseen back-to-back U-20 Grand Slam successes and a World Rugby U-20 Championship final appearance in the last two seasons.

Farrell first worked alongside Murphy when they were defence coach and skills and kicking coach respectively, during Joe Schmidt’s coaching reign with Ireland.

The pair have kept up a strong connection with Murphy continuing for a short while as a specialist kicking resource for the senior squad, and the Under-20s often training with Farrell’s men during the Six Nations window.

“I think it’s a great appointment. I think Richie will do a fantastic job (at Ulster), his rugby knowledge is second to none,” commented Farrell.

“He is a very experienced guy that has been an assistant for quite some time and I know that he worked with us for a short period before we went to the Under-20s, but that was his next step to take that type of mantle on and do it his way.

He has certainly done a fantastic job. I mean, coaching the Under-20s is coaching in its purest form, it’s bloody difficult because of the swapping and changing the whole time each year.

“It shows exactly the quality that he’s got and his knowledge of the whole game. I think the players up at Ulster there will love him.

“His attitude is great but first and foremost I think they will respect his knowledge, definitely.”

McFarland was in charge of Ulster since 2018 and guided them to the PRO14 final two years later. They looked to be finding form again with a trio of wins over Racing 92, Connacht, and Leinster, coming into the New Year.

However, last Sunday’s poor 19-17 defeat at the Ospreys was their third loss in a row, leaving them eighth in the BKT United Rugby Championship, and came just a few weeks after failing to reach the last 16 of the Investec Champions Cup.

Assistant coach Dan Soper will take the reins for their next URC fixture at home to the Dragons on Saturday week, before Murphy comes on board for their two-match tour to South Africa where they will play the Hollywoodbets Sharks and the DHL Stormers.

The Bray man will have to quickly get up to the speed as the Ulstermen then travel to Montpellier in the EPCR Challenge Cup’s round of 16, just after Easter. Given the people involved, Farrell is confident they can turn things around at Kingspan Stadium.

“Look, it’s obvious that we want all the provinces playing at the top of their game. If that happens, it’s a special place to be but it doesn’t tend to happen that often, does it?

“One thing I know for sure is that Ulster have got a fantastic squad and good people up there. The lads that we have within our squad are exemplary to the province, as far as their attitudes are concerned whether they’re playing or not.”

A dislocated toe, suffered during that loss to the Ospreys, means Iain Henderson is unavailable for Ireland’s clash with Wales on Saturday. His Ulster colleague, Stuart McCloskey, is one of only two backs on the hosts’ bench as they opt to return to a six-two split.

New-look Wales, who lost their first two games to Scotland and England by a combined three points, come to Dublin with a squad that has accumulated 662 caps, compared to Ireland’s 1012.

119 of those caps are provided by George North alone, while 21-year-old Exeter Chiefs lock Dafydd Jenkins continues as captain, and Cardiff back rower Mackenzie Martin could make his debut off the bench.

Asked what he is expecting from Wales this weekend, Farrell replied: “Playing against Wales, you know it’s always going to be a scrap.

“You know that every single time Wales play against Ireland, it means probably a little bit more to them, I’ve been told (that) over the years.

“So we’re aware of that, and we also know as well that Wales historically have got better throughout the competition.

“We’re five weeks into it come the weekend, from when we first started training. We know that they’ll be better and hopefully we’ve used our time wisely as well.”

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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6 Nations

Wales team to face Ireland in Dublin named

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Senior men’s head coach Warren Gatland has named the Wales side to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the third round of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations on Saturday 24 February (KO 2.15pm live on ITV and S4C).

There is one change to the starting XV that played England at Twickenham on 10 February, with Sam Costelow returning for Wales at fly half.

Among the replacements back-row Mackenzie Martin is in line to win his first senior cap this weekend and would become the 1,200th Wales men’s international.

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Tight-head prop Dillon Lewis would be making his first appearance of this Championship if called on from the bench.

Gatland said: “We are excited to go out to Dublin and test ourselves against one of the leading sides in world rugby. It’s a challenge we are relishing.

“We’ve made steps in the last couple of games and now it’s about building on that, learning from those experiences and taking that into this weekend.

“It’s about continuing to work hard, looking for accuracy in our performance across 80 minutes and also keeping our discipline.”

Wales senior men’s team to play Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the Guinness Six Nations, Saturday 24 February KO 2.15pm GMT. Live on ITV and S4C.
15. Cameron Winnett (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby – 56 caps)
13. George North (Ospreys – 119 caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (Saracens – 34 caps)
11. Rio Dyer (Dragons – 16 caps)
10. Sam Costelow (Scarlets – 9 caps)
9. Tomos Williams (Cardiff Rugby – 55 caps)
1. Gareth Thomas (Ospreys – 27 caps)
2. Elliot Dee (Dragons – 48 caps)
3. Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Rugby – 4 caps)
4. Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs – 14 caps) Captain / Capten
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys – 53 caps)
6. Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby – 2 caps)
7. Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers – 15 caps)
8. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons – 45 caps)

Replacements

16. Ryan Elias (Scarlets – 40 caps)
17. Corey Domachowski (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)
18. Dillon Lewis (Harlequins – 54 caps)
19. Will Rowlands (Racing 92 – 30 caps)
20. Mackenzie Martin (Cardiff Rugby – uncapped)
21. Kieran Hardy (Scarlets – 19 caps)
22. Ioan Lloyd (Scarlets – 4 caps)
23. Mason Grady (Cardiff Rugby – 8 caps)

Images & Content – Wales Rugby


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6 Nations

Jager and Ahern Join Ireland Squad Ahead Of Wales

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The Ireland squad re-assembled in Dublin on Sunday evening ahead of this weekend’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations Round 3 clash against Wales at Aviva Stadium (Kick-off 2.15pm).

Prop Oli Jager has joined the squad and Thomas Ahern has also linked up with Andy Farrell‘s side at the IRFU High Performance Centre this week.

Iain Henderson picked up a foot injury during Ulster’s URC game away to Ospreys on Sunday and there will be a further update later in the week.

The Ireland Match Day Squad to face Wales at Aviva Stadium will be named on Thursday at 2pm.

Ireland Squad – Wales Week: 

Backs (15):

Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht)
Harry Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster)
Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster)
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster)
Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster)
Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
James Lowe (Leinster)
Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster)
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster)
Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)
Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster)

Forwards (21):

Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster)*
Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)
Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster)
Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster)
Oli Jager (Munster)*
Ronan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jeremy Loughman (Garryowen/Munster)
Joe McCarthy (Dublin University/Leinster)
Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)(captain)
Tom O’Toole (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)
James Ryan (UCD/Leinster)
Dan Sheehan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Tom Stewart (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Nick Timoney (Banbridge/Ulster)
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)

*Denotes uncapped player

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography


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