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.
First up is the clash of France and a depleted Scotland team, who have a massive injury list at the moment.
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
Last up is Italy vs Ireland on Sunday, in a game many expect to be a walkover for the visitors.
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.
Eddie Jones updates squad for Italy preperation
England head coach Eddie Jones has named his squad for this week’s Guinness Six Nations match against Italy.
Jones’ side will travel to Rome later this week, where they will face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday 13 February (3pm GMT KO).
Wasps’ Joe Launchbury returns to the squad following injury for the first time since December 2020. There is also a first call up for London Irish’s Tom Pearson.
Lewis Ludlam suffered a rib injury in the game against Scotland and is unavailable for selection this week. Luke Northmore reported with a hamstring injury and is unable to train.
Courtney Lawes is progressing through return to play protocols and Jonny Hill will be with the squad in camp to continue his rehab.
Italy v England is live on ITV and BBC Radio 5 Live.
Alfie Barbeary (Wasps, uncapped)
Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 5 caps)
Ollie Chessum, Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 32 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 37 caps)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 5 caps)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 27 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 32 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 62 caps)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 2 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 52 caps)
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 4 caps)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 69 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 90 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 75 caps)
Tom Pearson (London Irish, uncapped)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 48 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 16 caps)
Mark Atkinson (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 53 caps)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 78 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, uncapped)
Louis Lynagh (Harlequins, uncapped)
Max Malins (Saracens, 11 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 8 caps)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 34 caps)
Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons, 2 caps)
Harry Randall (Bristol Bears, 2 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 44 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 6 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 6 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 113 caps)
World Rugby approves birth right amendment for players to transfer unions
- New process can benefit players and the global competitiveness of rugby
- Fairness and integrity key principles that underpin the framework
- Approval follows extensive discussion and collaboration across the game
- Revised Regulation will apply from 1 January 2022
The World Rugby Council has approved an amendment to the sport’s regulations governing national team representation that will now permit an international player to transfer once from one union to another subject to demonstrating a close and credible link to that union via birth right.
From 1 January, 2022, in order to transfer from one union to another under the revised Regulation 8 (eligibility), a player will need to achieve the below criteria:
- The player must stand-down from international rugby for 36 months
- The player must either be born in the country to which they wish to transfer or have a parent or grandparent born in that country
- Under the revised Regulation 8 criteria, a player may only change union once and each case will be subject to approval by the World Rugby Regulations Committee to preserve integrity
After 1 January 2022, any player who meets the above criteria can apply immediately for a transfer.
The Regulation 8 revisions will also align the “age of majority” across 15s and sevens. All players will now be ‘captured’ at 18 years of age to simplify the Regulation and improve union understanding and compliance.
Approval of the amended regulation follows requests by emerging nations and a subsequent wide-ranging consultation process with member unions, regions and International Rugby Players examining the possibility of amending the principle within Regulation that stipulates that a player may only represent one union at international level, save for specific circumstances relating to participation in the Olympic Games.
The benefits of the amendment include:
- Simplicity and alignment: transfers are currently permitted in the context of participation in the Olympics in the sevens game. This amendment will create one aligned, simplified process across the game
- Development of emerging nations: the player depth of emerging nations may be improved by permitting players, who have close and credible links to the “emerging union” through birth or ancestry, to “return” to those unions having previously represented another union
- Player-focused approach: the process recognised the modern rugby environment, including global player movement, the current ability to capture players by selecting them on the bench, and the desire of some players to transfer having been selected a limited number of times for one union. It also examined the impact of any change on the integrity of the international competition landscape.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Approval of this landmark regulatory change is the culmination of detailed and widespread modelling and consultation across the game. We have listened to our membership and players and sought to update the regulation recognising the modern professional rugby environment without compromising the integrity of the international game.
“Any player who wishes to transfer will need to have a close and credible link to their new union, namely birth right or parent or grandparent birth right while meeting strong criteria, including a 36-month stand down period. We believe that this is the fairest way to implement progressive change that puts players first while also having the potential to support a growing, increasingly competitive international men’s and women’s game.”
World Rugby Vice-Chairman Bernard Laporte added: “We have listened to our membership and honoured our pledge to undertake wide-ranging review of this important regulation. We have consulted, sought feedback from our unions, regions and most importantly to players’ representatives, before making a recommendation to the Council. This change to how international rugby operates will provide transformational opportunities to players with dual backgrounds, providing they meet the key criteria sets out in the Regulation 8.”
International Rugby Players CEO, Omar Hassanein said:“The proposal to change the rules around player eligibility is something that we have worked on over many years with our member associations. Many players across the world will now benefit from the chance to represent the country of their or their ancestors’ birth, serving as a real boost to the competitiveness of emerging nations, which in turn, will benefit the game as a whole.”
England name interesting squad to face Wallabies
The England line-up for this weekend’s Test match against Australia has been named.
Maro Itoje will make his 50th appearance for England, following his debut against Italy in 2016.
Captain Owen Farrell returns to the side at inside centre, Henry Slade stays at outside centre and Marcus Smith will start at fly half.
Jonny May (left) and Manu Tuilagi (right) will be on the wings, Freddie Steward is at full back and Ben Youngs is at scrum half.
In an unchanged forward pack from England’s 69-3 win over Tonga last weekend, Itoje is joined by lock Jonny Hill, hooker Jamie George and props Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler.
Courtney Lawes stays at blind-side flanker, Sam Underhill is open-side flanker and Tom Curry is at No. 8.
Bevan Rodd and Raffi Quirke could make their England debuts after being named as finishers – alongside Jamie Blamire, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Alex Dombrandt, Sam Simmonds and Max Malins.
Jones said: “We know this will be a tough test for us, we’re playing against a team who have been together a while and who have beat the world champions twice. As an Australian I know how much this game means.
“We’ve had a really good week of preparation, we’re looking to improve our performance this week and I think this side is building well.”
England v Australia is live on Amazon Prime Sport and TalkSPORT [Saturday 13 November, 5.30pm KO].
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps)
14. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 44 caps)
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 41 caps)
12. Owen Farrell (Saracens, 93 caps)
11. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 67 caps)
10. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 3 caps)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 110 caps)
1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 60 caps)
3. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 45 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 49 caps)
5. Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 10 caps)
6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 88 caps)
7. Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 25 caps)
8. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 34 caps)
16. Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 3 caps)
17. Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 13 caps)
19. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 24 caps)
20. Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 2 caps)
21. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 7 caps)
22. Raffi Quirke (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
23. Max Malins (Saracens, 8 caps)