We are at the halfway mark in this year’s 6 Nations and fantasy rugby is heating up as players rise or fall in stock, here’s who to keep an eye on this week.
France have named a much-changed team to the one that lost to England two weeks ago and it may be worth investing a bit in some of their player’s who need to bounce back to winning ways.
Romain Ntamack has been called in at number 10 and at only 11.5 stars may be worth a punt in any team, alongside him is Antoine Dupont who costs 12.8 stars.
Other players to consider are the likes of Gael Fickou, 13.7 stars, Yoann Huget, 13.2 stars, and Louis Picamoles, 14 stars, who are all hoping to carry France to a first win in this season’s competition.
— avec le XV (@avecleXV) February 19, 2019
Although the Scotland team is missing some big hitters, there are still some standout performers that would be good on any team.
Greig Laidlaw, 14.3 stars, is always putting in a shift and will most likely be kicking any penalties that could come the Scots way and with France’s indiscipline he could rack up the points.
With Stuarts Hogg missing out, Blair Kinghorn, 14.3 stars, has got a huge opportunity and scored a hat-trick on the opening weekend so would be well worth splashing the cash on.
Sam Johnson, 12.2 stars, has been in fine form for the boys in Blue, as well as the warrior that is Jonny Gray, 12.5 stars, who will be sure to make a number of tackles against the French.
BREAKING | Scotland make four changes to face France in this Saturday's Guinness Six Nations Test in Paris.
? Pete Horne for Finn Russell
? Magnus Bradbury for Ryan Wilson
? Nick Grigg for Huw Jones
? Blair Kinghorn for Stuart Hogg
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) February 21, 2019
The big clash of the weekend is Wales vs England, with the three most expensive players in the game amongst the two rivals.
For England Jonny May, 18.7 stars, has been in incredible form, and if you have the cash go for him. While Owen Farrell, 17.6 stars, never really has a poor game so would be a good man to have on your side.
Other men to think of would be Jack Nowell, 14.4 stars, who is back in the team following Chris Ashton’s injury and will be looking to make his mark. Billy Vunipola, 16.1 stars, has announced that he will be hoping to get back to his best against the Welsh, so could be one to watch.
Courtney Lawes, 15.8 stars, and Henry Slade, 16 stars, are another couple to add to the wish list. The problem with the English players is that they cost so much due to their impressive start to the campaign.
BREAKING | Your England team to face Wales on Saturday in the #GuinnessSixNations
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) February 21, 2019
Wales’ George North is the third most expensive player at 17 stars, and is always one to keep an eye on, while inside him Jonathan Davies, 15.2 stars, is another who is sure to put in a huge shift against the men in white.
In the pack, the likes of Josh Navidi, 15 stars, Justin Tipuric, 13.4 stars, and captain Alun Wyn Jones, 15.7 stars, will all be putting in a mammoth amount of work and could gain a lot of point for their hard work.
#GuinnessSixNations Team News ?
— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) February 21, 2019
People may be reluctant to have many Italians on their team but if they are going to cause an upset here are the men they need to be firing on all cylinders.
Michele Campagnaro, 11.9 stars, even in the defeats they have had he has been outstanding, as has Abraham Steyn, 10.7 stars.
While captain Leonardo Ghiraldini, 11.8 stars, and fly-half Tomasso Allan, 11 stars, will need to lead their backs and forwards respectively if they are to have any hope of getting a result against the reigning champions.
— Italrugby (@Federugby) February 22, 2019
As for the Irish they have a few outstanding players available such as Jacob Stockdale, 16.4 stars, Peter O’Mahony, 15.2 stars, Johnny Sexton, 15.1 stars, Sean O’Brien, 13.7 stars.
An outside shout is Ultan Dillane who has been outstanding over the past couple of weeks and is a steal at 9 stars.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 22, 2019
In terms of the bench, Joe Cokanasiga, 10.6 stars, Ali Price, 11.3 stars, Maxime Medard, 13.4 stars, Dan Bigger, 15.8 stars, Ian McKinley, 9.5 stars, and Josh Van Der Flier, 11.1 stars, are the top picks of each team’s benches.
We will have to wait and see what this round brings but for now here’s your guide.
England v Barbarians: CANCELLED
The RFU has today cancelled the Quilter Cup England v Barbarians fixture scheduled for Sunday 25 October.
As part of its ongoing investigation into a breach of the Covid code of conduct that took place on 21 October, the RFU has today discovered there was an earlier undisclosed breach that took place on 20 October when a number of Barbarians players left the hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts.
The RFU has concluded that the players leaving their Covid-secure environment on 20 October without then isolating from the rest of the group on their return has resulted in the bubble environment being compromised, with the potential risk of Covid transmission from individuals outside the bubble to everyone in the Barbarians team and management.
The RFU is therefore left with no alternative but to cancel the game.
Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO said: “We are incredibly disappointed to be calling a halt to this fixture, we know how much fans were looking forward to seeing the teams play. However, our priority is to protect the health and safety of the England squad and the other international teams they will go up against this Autumn. There has been a great deal of effort put into Covid codes of conduct and planning for games, including cooperation with Premiership Clubs to release additional players to fulfil the fixture safely, and we are all incredibly frustrated and disappointed that the actions of a number of Barbarians players mean we no longer feel it is safe for the game to go ahead.”
The RFU investigation is ongoing and no details on individuals or numbers of players involved will be confirmed until the investigation is concluded.
STATEMENT FROM RFU ENDS
Ireland name 4 debutants in squad for Italy Test
The Ireland Coaching Team have named the matchday squad for the rescheduled 2020 Guinness Six Nations Championships fixture against Italy which will take place at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday 24th October.
There are four uncapped players included in the squad with Will Connors and Hugo Keenan named in the starting XV. Ed Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park are in line for their international debuts off the bench.
Captain, Johnny Sexton is joined in the half backs by Conor Murray with Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose paired in the midfield.
Jacob Stockdale is named at fullback with Andrew Conway and the uncapped Keenan, who has been capped at Ireland 7s level, on the wings.
In the front row Cian Healy edges closer to a century of caps as he makes his 99th appearance. He is joined by Rob Herring and Andrew Porter while James Ryan and Tadgh Beirne fill the second row berths
In the back row Caelan Doris is named at blindside, Will Connors makes his debut at openside and CJ Stander is at No.8.
In the replacement forwards Byrne is joined by Dave Heffernan, who will be hoping to add the cap he won against the USA in 2017, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane and Peter O’Mahony.
Ross Byrne and Robbie Henshaw are the replacement backs alongside the uncapped Gibson-Park
Kick-off at the Aviva Stadium is 3.30pm on Saturday 24th October and the game is being televised by Virgin Media and ITV and is live in RTÉ radio.
Press Release from IRFU
Scotland name team to face Georgia
Scotland’s opening game of the autumn campaign will mark a series of firsts as Head Coach Gregor Townsend’s side play Georgia at BT Murrayfield on Friday 23 October (kick-off 7:30pm)
Scotland’s opening game of the autumn campaign will mark a series of firsts as Head Coach Gregor Townsend’s side play Georgia at BT Murrayfield on Friday 23 October (kick-off 7:30pm).
Glasgow Warriors hooker Fraser Brown will captain his country for the first time, winning his 51st cap, while Edinburgh winger Duhan van der Merwe starts and will make his debut for Scotland, as will Glasgow Warriors prop Oli Kebble, who is among the replacements.Townsend has also named scrum-half, Ali Price and back-row, Jamie Ritchie as vice-captains.
The team features some returning faces with Glasgow Warrior Matt Fagerson making his first start since facing the Georgian’s at home in Tblisi in August 2019 and Harlequins’ James Lang lining up at inside centre to win his 3rd cap, having last featured in the 2018 summer tour, playing against Canada and Argentina.Captain Fraser Brown packs down in the front row with Zander Fagerson and Rory Sutherland, with Ben Toolis and Scott Cummings pairing at lock.
Matt Fagerson starts at number 8 with Edinburgh backrows Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson on the flanks.Glasgow Warriors provide the half-back pairing of Ali Price and Adam Hastings who partnered during the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, with Racing 92 fly-half Finn Russell poised to win his 50th Scotland cap as a replacement, following his Heineken Champions Cup Final appearance last Saturday.
James Lang lines up alongside Gloucester’s Chris Harris in the centres and the starting XV is completed with an all Edinburgh back three of Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe on the wings and Blair Kinghorn at full back.
“It’s been great to have the players back in camp and as coaches, we’ve really enjoyed working with them again after the enforced break due to Covid-19.
Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend.
“As we start our autumn series the game against Georgia provides a real test as a first up match and we have taken the opportunity to select a side that reflects where our players are in terms of their game time this season, their current form, as well as the contributions they made during the Six Nations at the start of the year.”
“It is a testament to the professionalism and hard work Fraser has given to Scotland in recent years that we have selected him as the captain and he will be well supported by Jamie and Ali, who have grown as leaders over the past couple of seasons.”“Georgia have a new coaching group in place and will want to put down a marker for their own campaign so we have picked as strong a squad as possible to go up against what will be a very physical and motivated opponent.”
Scotland team to play Georgia at BT Murrayfield
Friday 23 October (kick-off 7:30pm) – live on ITV4
Edinburgh players Grant Gilchrist and Damien Hoyland left the Autumn Series squad this week due to injury, with Sale hooker Ewan Ashman being added to the training squad.