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Six Nations Fantasy Rugby Guide; Round 5

The last round of fixtures is here and with the championship up for grabs still so is the title of this year’s fantasy rugby

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

6 Nations

British & Irish Lions issue Tour Update

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Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The British & Irish Lions and SA Rugby have confirmed they are aligned on delivering the Castle Lager Lions Series in South Africa in the scheduled playing window.

The Lions Board confirmed its preference to SA Rugby on Monday evening, prior to follow-up meetings earlier today (Tuesday).

“After reviewing information relating to the various contingency scenarios being considered, I can confirm that the Board’s intended position is for the Tour to go ahead as scheduled in South Africa in 2021,” said Jason Leonard, chairman of The British & Irish Lions.

“We acknowledge that there is a significant amount of work still to be undertaken to deliver a robust COVID-19 countermeasure plan to ensure a successful, safe and uninterrupted Tour. SA Rugby will have our full support to help implement this plan.”

Mark Alexander, president of the SA Rugby, said he would inform the Executive Council of the South African Rugby Union of the alignment.

“We appreciate the Lions’ faith and share their desire to see a safe and successful tour,” said Alexander.

“We have been in regular contact with our government to make that a reality against the backdrop of the pandemic and its predicted progression over the coming months.

“There are serious financial implications for SA Rugby, should the event take place without any supporters in attendance, and we cannot ignore that in our considerations. But we are determined that the eventual outcome will deliver the best occasion and experience for players, supporters and our commercial partners.”

Alexander said the original tour schedule was subject to review because of those considerations. Should any changes be required they will be communicated as soon as possible.

Leonard added: “Every British and Irish player dreams of wearing the famous red jersey, and players from the southern hemisphere aspire to be part of a Lions series. We owe it to the current players vying for a place in both squads to ensure they can become part of Lions history.

“We are very much looking forward to taking on South Africa for what promises to be a highly-competitive Series against the reigning World Champions.”

Alexander thanked the Castle Lager Lions Series’ commercial partners as well as the British & Irish Lions and ticket holders for their patience during the extended period of uncertainty.

“As hosts and ‘owners’ of the Castle Lager Lions Series no one has been more affected or more challenged by the current circumstances than SA Rugby,” said Alexander. “However, with the support of our government and good planning we can navigate the pandemic to nonetheless create a most memorable event for players, fans and partners.”

It is not yet known whether international or cross-border travel for supporters will be possible into the country in July. Supporters who have purchased ticket-inclusive packages through Lions Rugby Travel will be notified directly via email with information on the options available.

The Lions remind supporters that all packages purchased through Lions Rugby Travel are protected by the Covid-19 guarantee*. Supporters who have booked packages with official sub agents should contact them directly. For the latest guidance on travelling to South Africa please visit the UK Foreign Office website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa or the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs website: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/south-africa/

At this time, it also remains unclear whether spectators will be permitted into stadia in July and August. SA Rugby and the Lions continue to work with relevant South African Government departments to ascertain the latest guidance on COVID-19 countermeasure planning for major sporting events and will communicate any updates as soon as it is possible to do so.

In the event that spectators are not permitted to gain access to the Test matches, Lions supporters who had successfully purchased Test match tickets via the Lions ticket ballot will be refunded.

The British & Irish Lions Test match against Japan at BT Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday 26 June 2021 for the Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup will continue as scheduled. However, a decision on crowd size will be made nearer the time of the event and in line with the latest UK Government guidance. For more information, including ticketing enquiries, please visit:
https://www.lionsrugby.com/1888-cup-faqs/

The British & Irish Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the Lions have won four Test series, lost eight with one drawn. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23 and drawn six.

*For more information please visit www.lionstour.com

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Rugby

Former Ulster star, Peter Nelson signs for French Club

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Getty Images - AFPCHRISTOPHE SIMON

Canada international and former Ulster player, Peter Nelson has signed with French PRO D2 side, Stade Aurillacois Cantal Auvergne on a 3-year deal.

Nelson spent 8 seasons with Ulster making 64 PRO14 appearances. In June 2019 Nelson joined up with the Canadian national team qualifying through his Grandmother who was born in Vancouver.

Nelson was part of the Canadian World Cup Squad making 3 appearance in RWC 2019 in Japan against Italy, New Zealand and South Africa.

In 2020, he signed with MRL side, Seawolwes in the USA to compete in the Major League of Rugby championship but unfortunately COVID-19 prevented any involvement.

Comfortable playing across the back 3 or at 10 or 12 he’s an astute signing for the PRO D2 Club. Nelson makes the move from French 3rd Division team Bourg en Bresse where he was brought in as a medical joker in September 2020.

Aurrilac has a long association with Ulster with with former Ulster Legend, Jeremy Davidson coaching the side for several years. Andre Bester former, Ballymena & Belfast Harlequins coach also had a stint with the Cantal Based Club.

Aurillac have had several Ulster-born players on their roster over the years including former Ulster Prop, Paddy McAllister, former Ulster winger, Conor Gaston and Ulster Underage Representatives, Charlie Simpson & Tim Small.

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Rugby

Wales name side for Scotland

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Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

Wales travel to Murrayfield on a six-day turnaround following their opening round success against Ireland.
Wales have named the same front-five that featured last weekend with Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis forming the front-row.

Adam Beard continues to partner captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.

Aaron Wainwright comes into the back row to line up alongside Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau. Both Josh Navidi and Josh Macleod are unavailable due to injury, with the latter originally selected to earn his first cap at blindside flanker before being ruled out.

Gareth Davies comes into the starting XV to partner Dan Biggar.

Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin form a new-look midfield with Liam Williams returning to the side to line-up alongside Louis Rees-Zammit and Leigh Halfpenny.

“We were pleased to kick the tournament off with a victory last weekend and to be heading to Scotland with a win behind us.

“We continue to build and to move forward and it is great to do that from a position of winning.
“It is a quick six-day turnaround this week but we are looking forward to getting back out there.

“We have picked up a couple of injuries but we see it as more of an opportunity for those coming into the side.

“We have to feel extremely disappointed for Josh (Macleod) who we selected to start and to win his first cap only to be ruled out later that day through injury.”

Elliot Dee, Rhodri Jones and Leon Brown provide the front-row cover for Wales with Will Rowlands and James Botham completing the forward contingent. Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy and Halaholo provide the back-line cover.

WALES TEAM TO PLAY SCOTLAND (SATURDAY FEBRUARY 13, KO 16.45)

1. Wyn Jones (31 Caps)

2. Ken Owens (78 Caps)

3. Tomas Francis (53 Caps)

4. Adam Beard (22 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (CAPT) (144 Caps)

6. Aaron Wainwright (27 Caps)

7. Justin Tipuric (81 Caps)

8. Taulupe Faletau (82 Caps)

9. Gareth Davies (58 Caps)

10. Dan Biggar (88 Caps)

11. Liam Williams (67 Caps)

12. Nick Tompkins (9 Caps)

13. Owen Watkin (26 Caps)

14. Louis Rees-Zammit (5 Caps)

15. Leigh Halfpenny (94 Caps)

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee (33 Caps)

17. Rhodri Jones (18 Caps)

18. Leon Brown (13 Caps)

19. Will Rowlands (6 Caps)

20. James Botham (3 Caps)

21. Kieran Hardy (2 Caps)

22. Callum Sheedy (5 Caps)

23. Uilisi Halaholo (*Uncapped)

Players unavailable for selection:

Dan Lydiate (released), Josh Navidi, Josh Macleod, Tomos Williams, Johnny Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hallam Amos, Josh Adams.

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