The countdown is on to the start of the Guinness Six Nations Fantasy Rugby 2023.
The competition is live, and fans everywhere will be deliberating over who to include in their sides in an effort to pip their friends and family to first place.
The front-row is always a crucial area of the pitch in Fantasy Rugby, with a new generation of skilful stars evolving the role in recent years.
No longer just a key cog at the set piece, front-row forwards now possess a variety of different skill sets, from dangerous ball carriers to nuisances at the breakdown.
And with that in mind, it is time to take a look at the props and hookers who should win the battle for a spot in your side.
Budget – Danilo Fischetti – 10 stars
Ten stars for Danilo Fischetti is incredible value.
The Italy forward may be young, but he has shown he has the potential to reach the very top of domestic and international rugby in the first half of the season.
The loosehead prop started all three of Italy’s games during a history-making Autumn Nations Series, helping the Azzurri to an impressive victory over Samoa and a first-ever win against Australia.
Fischetti has also done well to get plenty of game time in a London Irish side full of talent up front, putting in some impressive performances off the bench.
Italy will be optimistic ahead of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations, boasting an exciting young squad and if Fischetti is at his best, there is no reason why the Azzurri can’t set new standards in February and March.
So, if you are looking for an affordable front-row forward who will be central to their team’s hopes of success during the Guinness Six Nations, look no further than the Italy star.
Mid-range – Uini Atonio – 12 stars
Man mountain Uini Atonio is part of the furniture in Fabien Galthié’s France side.
The tighthead prop is a monster at scrum time, but in recent years he has added extra bite to his work around the field.
He now has 47 caps to his name and always offers something in big games.
The 32-year-old has been an ever-present figure for club side La Rochelle this season, starting in 12 of his 15 appearances and rarely letting the French side down.
France are one of the favourites heading into this year’s Championship after last term’s Grand Slam, so you will want as many of their regular starters in your side as possible.
Atonio is not only affordable at 12 stars, but he can be relied upon to get game time in an incredibly competitive squad, so be sure to pick him if you are going for first place in this season’s Fantasy Rugby.
Premium – Ellis Genge – 16 stars
Ellis Genge is the most expensive front-row forward in Fantasy Rugby, but my god is he worth every penny.
An incredible ball carrier, Genge will offer you a genuine try threat from prop.
He has an enviable try-scoring record of five tries in 43 England caps, while at club level, he has crossed the whitewash six times in eight appearances for Bristol Bears.
But Genge offers so much more than an eye for a try.
The loosehead is venomous in defence, solid at the set-piece and now has the fitness to go the distance at the highest level.
He has been named one of new England head coach Steve Borthwick’s vice-captains so expect him to get plenty of game time in an England squad with ridiculous depth in the front-row.
Yes, 16 stars is a lot, but if you are going to spend big money on any player, it should be the baby rhino.