Six Nations Fantasy Rugby: The complete guide to Round 4

Rugby

Three rounds down, two to go, and the biggest concern for Six Nations’ officials is, understandably, off the pitch. The coronavirus outbreak has prompted the Irish government to postpone Ireland vs Italy in Dublin this weekend, while England’s trip to Rome on March 14 has also been called off. No rescheduled date has been set for either match, as yet.

While this weekend’s other two matches are still slated to go ahead as scheduled, the fast-moving public health situation could see things change rapidly.

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Early this week, Eddie Jones threw a spanner in the works by calling up Exeter scrum-half Jack Maunder to the training squad ahead of the Wales game. Of course, he stuck with the tried and trusted opted for Youngs and Heinz to start, but it was an interesting move given Jones’s apparent ongoing aversion to looking for a new model nine.

Wales, meanwhile, have had injury issues, but have welcomed back some previously unavailable players.

Fabien Galthie has galvanised France in a way no coach has been able to since the days of Bernard Laporte, who is now the president of the FFR. Grand Slam talk may well be premature — Scotland will certainly want to have their say in Edinburgh — but such is the burgeoning confidence that this French team is finally at least the sum of its clearly talented parts.

Fixtures

Saturday, March 7 — Ireland vs Italy, POSTPONED
Saturday, March 7, 4.45pm GMT — England vs Wales, Twickenham
Sunday, February 2, 3pm GMT — Scotland vs France, Murrayfield

Where am I going to score points?

Two big games are still set to go ahead, with the prospect of plenty of points in London and Edinburgh. The breakdown battle in both outings will be ferocious — good luck picking your back-row combinations from the options available.

If it helps you ease a difficult Fantasy Rugby decision, it may be a nice idea to look at the Wales-England clash for your second rows while there may be more room for manoeuvre in your combined backline at Murrayfield.

Who should I leave out?

Following the postponement of Ireland’s contest with Italy, it is perhaps best to create a Fantasy Rugby XV from four national squads. It can be done, but it most likely means you have to do a fair bit of shuffling to cut any Irish and Italian involvement this week.

Meanwhile, after three generally underwhelming matches in an over-performing side, France’s Teddy Thomas has been dropped. If you still have him in your side, be grateful.

Who should I bring in?

It may be a good time for ESPN Fantasy Rugby coaches to look at previously unavailable Wales players. Liam Williams starts on the wing after recovering from the ankle injury that forced him to miss the World Cup semifinal against South Africa, while the remarkable Josh Navidi is back in the starting lineup, at No. 8, to add to your back-row options.

Who should be my kicker?

Romain Ntamack and Adam Hastings are set to tee off against one another at Murrayfield. Both have had hugely successful tournaments so far, and there’s no reason to assume their accuracy will desert them this weekend.

Of the two, France prodigy Ntamack heads the tournament points list with 39; his two tries mean he is behind only France captain Charles Ollivon and Wales’ Josh Adams on the try-scoring chart. Ntamack also has the most conversions (seven); and tops the try assists table (three). Hastings, way behind on the total points standings with 25, is joint-top for most converted penalties with Dan Biggar on six.

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