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.
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
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 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.
World Rugby applies 50/22 law trial globally, bolster concussion protocol
World Rugby announced on Wednesday five law trials which will start next month, including a so-called “50/22” kicking adaptation.
The 50/22 change allows a team to gain a throw-in inside the opposition’s 22-metre area by kicking the ball to touch with at least one bounce from their own half.
The rule was used in recent Super Rugby tournaments and its primary intention is to “encourage the defensive team to put more players in the backfield, thereby creating more attacking space and reducing defensive line speed”, according to the sport’s governing body.
The other laws to come into force on a temporary basis from August 1 include a goal-line drop-out if the ball is held up in the in-goal area, if there is a knock-on from an attacking player in the same area or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal.
There are also restrictions on attacking players latching onto team-mates from a ruck and clean-outs which target or drop weight onto the lower limbs at the breakdown.
The final trial allows for a one-player latch before contact, but the individual must “observe all of the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet”.
World Rugby has also moved to strengthen concussion protocols, with independent specialists set to review cases when Test players return to action after a head injury.
They will launch a panel of Independent Concussion Consultants (ICCs) to provide expert opinion on whether players are ready to return to action after head knocks.
The global governing body will fully fund the process for Test-level competitions, with ICCs asked to rule when players look to return to action 10 days or fewer after a concussion or on players deemed higher risk due to previous head-injury history.
Lions name team to face Sharks
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) and Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales) will make their Lions debuts on Wednesday evening when the tourists take on Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park (kick off 6pm BST).
The game, which will be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports, is the second of eight Tour matches in the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series which culminates with three Tests against World Champions, the Springboks.
“It’s a quick turnaround from Saturday, but we’ll be ready to go by Wednesday night,” said Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland.
“I’m pleased we managed to come through the weekend’s game unscathed, and the boys have rested and recovered well. We feel like we’re slowly building, but, as ever, there’s still room for improvement in all facets of our game.
“Wednesday night is another chance for us to have a look at a few more combinations. I’m looking forward to seeing how the back row goes; it’s an exciting mixture and one that we hope will offer something a bit different.
“We expect another physical test against a side who are known for their power play and ambition.
“My congratulations to Tom, Josh and Adam ahead of their first starts in a Lions jersey.”
The Lions opened their 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series with an eight-try victory over Sigma Lions.
CELL C SHARKS v THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816
13. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) #837
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) #850
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #848
4. Iain Henderson – Captain (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) #808
5. Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales)
6. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Rugby, Wales)
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England)
8. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) #849
16. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829
17. Rory Sutherland (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #840
18. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
19. Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #838
20. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839
21. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790
22. Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) #783
23. Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) #844
Wednesday 7 July 2021. Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg, Kick-off: 6pm (BST)
London Irish announce Springbok Prop
Marcel van der Merwe has signed on the dotted line with London Irish!
The experienced prop has put pen to paper on a deal with Declan Kidney’s side and will join up with his new team-mates ahead of the start of the 2021/22 season.
The 30 year-old South African international – who has seven Springbok caps to his name – joins from La Rochelle, whom he joined on a short-term deal earlier this year.
Speaking about his arrival at the Exiles, van der Merwe expressed his delight, commenting: “I’m very excited – it’s a new chapter in my career.
“London Irish are a Club that are moving in the right direction, so it’s an exciting opportunity for me. The timing feels right.
“I’ve played English teams quite a lot throughout my time in France, so I know what to expect of the league and everything it throws up. I can’t wait to get going with London Irish.”
Director of Rugby, Declan Kidney, added: “Marcel is a key addition to the squad ahead of the start of the 2021/22 season.
“He will bring great experience and quality to our pack and will complement the existing players we’ve already got in the forwards.
“We’re really pleased that he has decided to join the Club and we’re looking forward to him joining up with us in August for his pre-season.”
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