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6 Nations

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

Ireland Make Seven Changes For Italy

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

The Ireland coaching group have made seven changes to the side that started against France in round 2 of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship. There are two uncapped players in the replacements.

Craig Casey, who was on the bench for the game against France, and Ryan Baird are in line for their first international caps in Stadio Olimpico on Saturday afternoon.

Johnny Sexton returns to captain the side and partners Jamison Gibson Park in the halfbacks.

This weekend has come too soon for Conor Murray who is continuing his hamstring rehab.

Robbie Henshaw, who earns his 50th cap for Ireland, will again partner Garry Ringrose in the midfield. Henshaw made his Ireland debut against USA on the 2013 Summer Tour, a few days before his 20th birthday.

Hugo Keenan retains the No.15 jersey with James Lowe on the left wing and Jordan Larmour coming in on the right hand side.

A new front row combination of Dave Kilcoyne, Ronan Kelleher and Tadgh Furlong is set to start.

James Ryan returns to the second row to partner  Iain Henderson.

Tadgh Beirne shifts to the backrow filling the blindside role with Will Connors at openside and CJ Stander at No.8.

The replacements for the weekend are Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Jack Conan, Billy Burns, Keith Earls and the uncapped duo of Baird and Casey

IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Italy, 2021 Guinness Six Nations Championship, Stadio Olimpico , Saturday, February 27, kick-off 2:15pm):

Player/Club/Province/Caps –

15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 8 caps
14. Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 26 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 32 caps
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 49 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 4 caps
10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 96 caps CAPTAIN
9.
 Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 7 caps
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 40 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 8 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 46 caps
4. Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 60 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 33 caps
6. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 19 caps
7. Will Connors (Leinster/UCD) 7 caps
8. CJ Stander (Munster/Shannon) 48 caps

Replacements

16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 18 caps
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 106 caps
18. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 34 caps
19. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) uncapped
20. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 17 caps
21. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) uncapped
22. Billy Burns (Ulster) 5 caps
23. Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster) 90 caps

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6 Nations

England name team for Round 3 v Wales

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(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Eddie Jones has named his side for this weekend’s key Guinness Six Nations match against Wales.

England will travel to Cardiff to take on Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday 27 February (4.45pm KO).

Elliot Daly is set to make his 50th appearance for England, at full back.  Daly made his England debut in February 2016 in a 21-10 victory over Ireland.

Captain Owen Farrell is at inside centre, Henry Slade at outside centre and George Ford stays at fly half.  Ben Youngs continues at scrum half, with Jonny May (left) and Anthony Watson (right) on the wings.

Jamie George returns at hooker, with Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler as props alongside in the front row.  Maro Itoje and Jonny Hill stay in the second row.

Mark Wilson starts as blind-side flanker, Tom Curry is open-side flanker and Billy Vunipola continues at No. 8.

George Martin could make his England debut after being named as finisher.  Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Ben Earl, Dan Robson and Max Malins make up the finishers.

Eddie Jones said: “Wales is a really special fixture and rivalry.  There is a long history between the two nations and the game means a lot to both countries.

“We know we’ll be up against a strong Welsh challenge on Saturday, but we’ve worked really hard in training this week and have got a very good team to face it.

“We want to show people what we are capable of, keep building our performances and the best is yet to come from this England team.”

In their remaining championship fixtures, England will then play France at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 13 March (4.45pm KO) before travelling to Dublin to take on Ireland on Saturday 20 March (4.45pm KO).

Wales v England is live on BBC One and BBC Radio 5 Live.

England XV Starters
15. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 49 caps)
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 48 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 36 caps)
12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 90 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 63 caps)
10. George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 74 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 106 caps)
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 64 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 56 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 41 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 45 caps)
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 6 caps)
6. Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons, 20 caps)
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 30 caps)
8. Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 58 caps)
 
Finishers
16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 28 caps)
17. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 25 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 10 caps)
19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 18 caps)
20. George Martin (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
21. Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 10 caps)
22. Dan Robson (Wasps, 9 caps)
23. Max Malins (Bristol Bears, 5 caps)
ENDS

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6 Nations

Huge boost for Ulster & Ireland as Henderson signs new deal

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster captain, Iain Henderson, who has represented the province on 116 occasions, has secured his future with the club for the next two years.

Craigavon-born Henderson, who took up the role of Ulster captain in 2019, has progressed through the Ulster development system. Starting with mini rugby at Academy RFC, his early playing career saw him reach the final of the Danske Bank Schools Cup in 2010 with Belfast Royal Academy, represent Queen’s University Belfast as well as Ireland at Age-Grade level, before quickly rising through the ranks of senior professional rugby in the province.

Iain, who captained Ireland for the first time against France in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, made his international debut against South Africa in November 2012 and has won 60 caps to date for his country. 

A Lions tourist in 2017, Iain succeeded Rory Best as Ulster captain in 2019.  

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Over the past few seasons Iain has really developed into a leader within both the Ireland and Ulster squads. He is part of the national leadership group, captaining Ireland recently for the first time and we are delighted to have ensured that he continues his career in Ireland.”

Iain Henderson, commented,

“It has been a great honour to captain both Ulster and Ireland in recent times. Irish rugby is in a good place despite the disruption the sport has experienced during the pandemic. As professionals, we have been in a privileged position to be able to continue playing and I know we all hope to see supporters back in the Aviva and Kingspan in the near future.”

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