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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

World Rugby applies 50/22 law trial globally, bolster concussion protocol

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World Rugby announced on Wednesday five law trials which will start next month, including a so-called “50/22” kicking adaptation.

The 50/22 change allows a team to gain a throw-in inside the opposition’s 22-metre area by kicking the ball to touch with at least one bounce from their own half.

The rule was used in recent Super Rugby tournaments and its primary intention is to “encourage the defensive team to put more players in the backfield, thereby creating more attacking space and reducing defensive line speed”, according to the sport’s governing body.

The other laws to come into force on a temporary basis from August 1 include a goal-line drop-out if the ball is held up in the in-goal area, if there is a knock-on from an attacking player in the same area or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal.

There are also restrictions on attacking players latching onto team-mates from a ruck and clean-outs which target or drop weight onto the lower limbs at the breakdown.

Michael Hooper with a textbook tackle close out a certain try

The final trial allows for a one-player latch before contact, but the individual must “observe all of the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet”.

World Rugby has also moved to strengthen concussion protocols, with independent specialists set to review cases when Test players return to action after a head injury.

They will launch a panel of Independent Concussion Consultants (ICCs) to provide expert opinion on whether players are ready to return to action after head knocks.

The global governing body will fully fund the process for Test-level competitions, with ICCs asked to rule when players look to return to action 10 days or fewer after a concussion or on players deemed higher risk due to previous head-injury history.

Source – Australia Rugby

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6 Nations

England name 8 new caps for USA clash

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(Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Eddie Jones has named his England team for this weekend’s Test match against USA.

Eight uncapped players are set to make their debuts at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday 4 July (2pm KO).

Lewis Ludlow will captain the side at blind-side flanker, with Sam Underhill at open-side flanker and Callum Chick at No.8.

Ellis Genge (loose-head prop) will be vice-captain and is joined by Curtis Langdon (hooker) and Joe Heyes (tight-head prop) in the front row.

Locks Josh McNally and Charlie Ewels complete the tight five.

Henry Slade, the most-capped player in the squad, will be at outside centre with Ollie Lawrence at inside centre.  Marcus Smith will start at fly half and Harry Randall is at scrum half. 

Freddie Steward is at full back, while Max Malins (left) and Joe Cokanasiga (right) are on the wings in attack.

Among the finishers there are four further uncapped players who could make their first appearance for England – Jamie Blamire, Trevor Davison, Ben Curry and Jacob Umaga.  Beno Obano, Ted Hill, Lewis Ludlam and Dan Robson are also named as finishers.

Jones said: “Over the past three weeks our biggest message to the players is what an opportunity this is to show what they can do and make their mark with England.

“They’ve applied themselves as a group and worked very hard individually during this camp to reach their personal bests.

“Now it’s all about coming together as a team, gelling and putting in a good performance at the weekend.”

England v USA is live on Channel 4, with coverage starting from 1.30pm.

England XV Starters
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
14. Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 38 caps)
12. Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, 6 caps)
11. Max Malins (Saracens, 7 caps)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, uncapped)
9. Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, uncapped)
1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 28 caps)
2. Curtis Langdon (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
3. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
4. Josh McNally (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
5. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 21 caps)
6. Lewis Ludlow (C) (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 22 caps)
8. Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)

Finishers
16. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)
17. Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, 1 cap)
18. Trevor Davison (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped)
19. Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 1 cap)
20. Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
21. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 8 caps)
22. Dan Robson (Wasps, 12 caps)
23. Jacob Umaga (Wasps, uncapped)

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6 Nations

James Ryan starts for Ireland v Japan

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Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ireland coaching team have named the Ireland match day squad to face Japan at the Aviva Stadium in the opening fixture of the Vodafone Summer Series.

James Ryan will wear the captain’s armband on Saturday and will be partnered in the second row by Ultan Dillane.

Peter O’Mahony starts on the blindside flank and is joined in the backrow by Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris, who makes his international return after missing the 2021 Six Nations Championships.

The front row is made up of Dave Kilcoyne, Ronan Kelleher and Finlay Bealham.

At half-back Jamison Gibson Park will partner Joey Carbery who returns to the international scene for the first time since the Rugby World Cup in 2019.  Stuart McCloskey and Chris Farrell are paired in midfield while Jacob Stockdale and Jordan Larmour on the wings and Hugo Keenan is at fullback.

The replacements include Rob Herring, Ed Byrne, John Ryan, Ryan Baird, the uncapped  Gavin Coombes, Craig Casey, Billy Burns and Shane Daly.

Last weekend Jamie Joseph’s Brave Blossoms made the British and Irish Lions work hard for their 28-10 victory in Murrayfield.

Five Ireland players – Chris Farrell, Jacob Stockdale, Josh van der Flier, Peter O’Mahony and James Ryan started against Japan in the last encounter between the two sides at the 2019 Rugby World Cup with Dave Kilcoyne, Joey Carbery and Jordan Larmour featuring off the bench that day in Shizuoka.

The match will be televised by RTE (ROI) Channel 4 (NI) and kicks off at 1.00pm.

Vodafone Summer Series 2021

Ireland team to play Japan – 3rd July 2021, Aviva Stadium


15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 11 caps
14. Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 29 caps
13. Chris Farrell (Munster/Young Munster) 14 caps
12. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 4 caps
11. Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) 34 caps
10. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 22 caps
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 9 caps
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 43 caps
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) 11 caps
3. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 14 caps
4. Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Corinthians) 18 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 35 caps captain
6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 75 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 31 caps
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/UCD) 7 caps

Replacements
16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 21 caps
17. Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 4 caps
18. John Ryan (Munster/Cork Constitution) 23 caps
19. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 3 caps
20. Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) uncapped
21. Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 1 cap
22. Billy Burns (Ulster) 6 caps
23. Shane Daly (Munster/Cork Constitution) 1 cap

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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