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.
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)