The final round of Six Nations fixtures is upon us and with it the conclusion of this year’s fantasy rugby.
Here are the players you might want to consider for a final charge in your respective leagues and hopefully you can improve your current standings.
The first game on Saturday sees Italy host France in a game that could go anyway. The Azzurri showed signs of improvement in the opening three rounds only to collapse against a rampant English side.
However, this could be their best chance at ending their record losing streak. If they are to end the tournament on a high their half-back partnership of Tomasso Allan, 10.7 stars, and Tito Tebaldi, 8.5 stars, will be crucial.
On the wing Edoardo Padovani, 10.4 stars, could be a low-cost option to consider. In the pack Braam Steyn, 9.7 stars, has been impressive in all his matches and not only makes lots of tackles but gains a huge amount of metres.
Another man to watch out for is captain Sergio Parisse, 10.3 stars, who always puts in a shift and it could be his last Six Nations match meaning he will want to end with a rare win in blue.
? #Italrugby: la formazione in campo sabato con la Francia, per l'ultimo match degli Azzurri nel @SixNationsRugby 2019 ➡ https://t.co/YvAEWMPEKn#insieme #rugbypassioneitaliana @SeiNazioniRugby pic.twitter.com/eRKjI9vWCR
— Italrugby (@Federugby) March 14, 2019
On the French side, it is a hard call of who to pick after they put in such mixed performances against Scotland and Ireland in the last two rounds.
Romain Ntamack, 13.1 stars, continues at 10 and will be looking to seal his place in the team in Rome ahead of the World Cup later this year. Also, in the back-line is Wesley Fofana, 12 stars, who has been handed the chance to impress, and with such natural talent, he could tear the Italian defence up.
In the pack Yacoba Camara is a cheap option at only 8.6 stars, and usually puts in a good showing. Alongside him are Greg Alldritt, 12 stars, and Louis Picamoles, 14.3 stars, both of which have played well throughout the tournament despite the team’s poor performances.
— Fédération Française de Rugby (@FFRugby) March 14, 2019
The second game of the day could be the clash of the competition as Grand Slam chasing Wales welcome a revived Ireland to Cardiff.
The Welsh defence will need to be at the top of their game as Ireland will look to score tries in an attempt to boost their slim title hopes.
With that in mind, captain Alun Wyn Jones, Josh Navidi, both 15.7 stars, and Justin Tipuric, 15 stars, are all certain to rack up points for their defensive displays and all are prone to pop up with a try when needed.
In the back-line Jonathan Davies, 16 stars, has had a brilliant tournament both in defence and attack, while George North, 17.1 stars, will offer the Welsh a threat going forward as always.
TEAM NEWS ??????? Unbeaten Wales name unchanged squad for final 2019 #GuinnessSixNations encounter against @IrishRugby on Saturday. Dim newid i'r garfan am y 50fed gêm Chwe Gwlad Warren Gatland fel prif hyfforddwr Cymru.#HWFN #ForTheJersey pic.twitter.com/hB5pdUlrP9
— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) March 14, 2019
Ireland will need their big men to stand up once more, with CJ Stander, 15 stars, and James Ryan, 14.4 stars, hoping to lead from the front as they did last weekend with their tackle counts and carries.
Johnny Sexton, 15.9 stars, hit form again against Les Blues and will need to be at the top of his game again for the visitors. Garry Ringrose, 14.9 stars, offered the Irish a spark they had been missing and is always a man that gains a team points with his overall skill-set.
Jacob Stockdale, 17.5 stars, has been a lot quieter this year than last, but has showed signs that he could explode onto the scene once more and could be worth a gamble.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 14, 2019
The final showdown of the competition takes place at Twickenham, where England will know by then if they can still win the title or not against the Scots. Either way, Eddie Jones will want his men to put in another solid display as they did when they hosted Italy.
Jonny May, 18.5 stars, is the most expensive player in the game but could pop up with a couple of tries to ensure he finishes this year’s top try scorer.
Helping him in the back-line will be Manu Tuilagi, 16.8 stars, captain Owen Farrell, 17.4 stars, and the recalled Jack Nowell, 14.1 stars, who will all want to lay down markers against a weakened Scotland team.
Mark Wilson, 13.8 stars, is a cheaper option in the English pack and is improving with every game in a Red Roses shirt.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) March 14, 2019
Scotland have been very unfortunate throughout the tournament but still pushed Wales all the way last weekend. That was partially down to Hamish Watson’s, 14 stars, incredible display off the bench, although this week he starts, and young Darcy Graham’s, 11.1 stars, crucial try.
Other men to consider are the ever-dangerous, Finn Russell, 13.7 stars, Sam Johnson, 11.5 stars, and Sean Maitland, 11.8 stars, who comes in at full-back this weekend.
BREAKING | Scotland make six changes to starting team to face England in this Saturday’s final Guinness Six Nations Test at Twickenham Stadium (16 March) – live on ITV.
3️⃣⬆️ Forwards: Toolis, Watson, Skinner
3️⃣⬆️ Backs: Maitland, McGuigan, Johnson pic.twitter.com/hHrWScXAvG
— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) March 14, 2019
In the super-sub department, England’s George Ford, 15.7 stars, and Scotland’s Jonny Gray, 12.1 stars, will have massive impacts from the replacements.
While Camille Chat of France, 12.4 stars, and Alessandro Zanni of Italy, 9.4 stars, will hope to do the same.
In the big game, Wales’ Dan Biggar, 16 stars, is pricy but could be the key weapon off the bench if they are to secure victory, while Jack Conan, 13.6 stars, has been a constant threat to team’s when used and will surely be unleashed when the home side start to tire.
So, that’s it, the end is here for another year, who will be crowned Six Nations champions 2019? Will Italy end their losing streak? All will be revealed tomorrow and hopefully whatever happens your fantasy team will benefit when it’s all over.
Sharks sign respected Full-back on 1 year deal
Former Gloucester full-back Jason Woodward joins Sale Sharks ahead of 2022/23 Premiership season
Sale Sharks have signed versatile full-back Jason Woodward on a one-year deal ahead of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season.
The former Bristol Bears and Gloucester man, who can also play on the wing and in the centre, put pen to paper today and will join Alex Sanderson’s squad ahead of their opening pre-season clash against Caldy RFC on August 19.
Jason signed for Bristol from Super Rugby side the Hurricanes in 2016, before joining Gloucester the following year after Bristol’s relegation from the Premiership. He went on to make made 67 appearances and score 90 points for the Cherry and Whites.
The 32-year-old represented New Zealand at U20 level but qualifies for England through his grandmother and was called into a training camp by Eddie Jones in 2017.
Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson said: “After speaking with Jason it was clear he was still motivated to perform at the highest level, and he was keen for a move North to join the Sharks.
“Jason is a proven Premiership performer who will add a great deal of quality and experience to what is a young squad here.
“He has the ability to play in a number of positions and that’s a massive bonus for us with such a busy schedule ahead.
Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby
RFU Council votes in favour of change to gender participation policy
|Press release issued by Rugby Football Union|
- The RFU Council has approved a new gender participation policy following extensive stakeholder consultation and thorough review of all available scientific evidence
- New policy takes a precautionary approach by prioritising safety of players
- RFU promoting opportunities for everyone to participate in rugby offering a range of formats and ways to get involved along with a confidential helpline
- RFU committed to working with World Rugby and UK Sports Councils to ensure further research is conducted and to reviewing the policy on a regular basis
Following an extensive RFU consultation, the RFU Council has voted in favour of updating its gender participation policy for rugby in England from the start of the 2022/23 season with 33 in favour, 26 against and 2 abstaining.
The RFU began a detailed review of its policy in Autumn 2020, this included a game wide survey receiving over 11,000 responses, extensive consultation with and listening to a wide range of independent experts as well as considering all available scientific evidence along with liaising with other sporting bodies.
The review and consultation concluded that detailed peer reviewed research provides evidence that there are physical differences between those people whose sex originally recorded as male and those as female at birth, and advantages in strength, stamina and physique brought about by testosterone and male puberty are significant and retained even after testosterone suppression.
This science provides the basis of the new gender participation policy that concludes the inclusion of trans people originally recorded male at birth in female contact rugby cannot be balanced against considerations of safety and fairness.
The RFU Council has determined that until such time as new further peer-reviewed science is available, a precautionary approach is appropriate to ensure fair competition and safety of all competitors. Therefore, the RFU Council approved a policy change to only permit players in the female category if the sex originally recorded at birth is female.
The RFU recognises this was a complex and difficult decision and the policy change was not taken lightly or without thorough and full research and consultation. Speaking about the decision, RFU President, His Honour Jeff Blackett said: “I would like to thank everyone for the passion, time and effort that has been put in to consulting with us and informing this policy review. Inclusion is at the heart of rugby values and we will continue to work with everyone to keep listening, learning and finding ways to demonstrate there is a place for everyone in our game. We know that many will be disappointed by this decision however, it has been based on all the scientific evidence available. Our game can be strengthened by everyone who is involved; be it in coaching, refereeing, administration or supporting and playing non-contact forms of the game.”
The RFU also considered the merits of a case-by-case assessment process, but in light of the research findings and work of World Rugby and the UK Sports Councils, and given the difficulties in identifying a credible test to assess physiological variables, this is no longer a viable option at this time and does not necessarily ensure inclusion. World Rugby has a dedicated funding stream for research in this area and the RFU will continue to work with World Rugby and other stakeholders in promoting research to continue.
In the male category, players whose sex recorded at birth is female may play if they provide their written consent and a risk assessment is carried out.
The RFU is committed to supporting and encouraging opportunities for everyone to participate in rugby including non-contact formats of the game and through coaching, refereeing or volunteering roles. If anyone would like to find out more about how rugby can be inclusive to them and would like to get involved they can contact the RFU via [email protected] . For anyone who wants advice on mental-wellbeing please see this link.
The RFU has contacted the registered trans women players, who the revised policy has a direct impact on, to offer its support in continuing to encourage them to participate in the sport. The RFU will continue to listen and review its policy on a regular basis and welcomes all new research on this subject to inform these reviews.
For further information on the review please click here:
RFU Gender Participation Policy – frequently asked questions
RFU Gender Participation video
Joe Simpson joins the Sharks Family!
Sale Sharks have signed former England scrum-half Joe Simpson on a short-term contract ahead of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season.
The former Wasps and Gloucester man, who has one England cap and was part of his country’s squad for the 2011 World Cup, has put pen to paper on a six-month deal.
Joe made almost 250 appearances for Wasps after graduating from their academy in 2008, before joining Gloucester in 2019.
He had loan spells at both Saracens and Bath Rugby last season, but after being released from his contract at Kingsholm, he has joined up with Alex Sanderson’s squad for pre-season ahead of a busy Gallagher Premiership and Heineken Champions Cup campaign.
And the Sharks Director of Rugby says that with Raffi Quirke and Will Cliff currently sidelined with injuries, the 34-year-old will be a massive addition to the club on and off the field
Alex said: “We felt that we were short of a bit of experience in the scrum-half position and Joe brings that in abundance. He’s a proven performer who’s played at the very highest level for the past decade and more and we’re sure he will be a brilliant addition to what is a very young squad.
“Everyone who has worked with Joe speaks really highly of him in terms of his leadership off the field so we’re really excited to see what he can do here. Joe’s experience will be invaluable for our young players like Raffi, Gus Warr and Nye Thomas.”
Joe Simpson has been one of the Premiership’s most consistent performers over the past decade.
At international level, he represented England at U19 and U20 level, taking part in the inaugural Junior World Championship in Wales in 2008, as well as playing for the Sevens and Saxons teams.
Joe made his full debut for England during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand when he replaced Ben Youngs during a pool stage clash with Georgia.
Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby
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