Guinness Six Nations Fantasy Rugby is back for 2019 and with ever-growing popularity is set to be bigger and bolder than ever.
With 2020 tickets, store vouchers and bragging rights at your very fingertips the game is now live and we’re here to give you the lowdown on how to reach the summit of your leagues.
Here, we’re taking a look at Wales, their schedule, and the key players to select for your team for Round 1 – under a fortnight away.
As Warren Gatland seeks Championship honours in his final campaign Wales come in to the 2019 Guinness Six Nations in excellent form and look well-placed for a title challenge.
After the conclusion of the European fortnight of club rugby, Wales’ 39-man squad are now in training ahead of that mouth-watering Friday-night opener against France in Paris.
Back-three man Leigh Halfpenny and No.8 Ross Moriarty are both included despite being injury doubts for the first match, while Alun Wyn Jones remains Gatland’s ever-dependable skipper.
With the likes of back rows Ellis Jenkins, James Davies and Aaron Shingler out injured, Thomas Young, Josh Turnbull and Josh Navidi are included – while centre Scott Williams is also recalled.
Perhaps crucially for Fantasy Rugby, four fly-halves are also included in Gareth Anscombe, Dan Biggar, Rhys Patchell and Jarrod Evans.
WHAT’S THE SCHEDULE?
This year’s fixture calendar looks to be a good one for Wales fans, with the last two winners of Rugby’s Greatest Championship – Ireland and England – both having to travel to Principality Stadium.
First up for Gatland’s men though are away trips to France and Italy – with the Round Two clash at the Stadio Olimpico one to keep an eye on for Fantasy Rugby fans.
Those home fixtures with England and then Ireland sandwich a trip to BT Murrayfield – with Wales having notched up 34 points against Scotland last year this could well be a high-scoring affair once again.
One of the keys to Fantasy Rugby is picking players who you are confident will start matches, and players you’re confident will play well – step forward Alun Wyn Jones.
It’s for exactly that reason, confidence in performance, that Gatland picks totemic second row Jones as his captain – a man who never seems to have a bad game.
At 15 stars he is one of the most expensive locks but locks likely to harvest team points plus those for tackles, carries and man-of-the-match awards.
Our other ‘must have’ for Wales is scrum-half Gareth Davies, who looks to have the advantage over Tomos Williams and Aled Davies in selection for the No.9 shirt.
At 13 stars Davies is significantly cheaper than Morgan Parra, Greig Laidlaw (both 15 stars) and Conor Murray (16 stars), and all for a man with a superb attacking game and whom scored two tries in last year’s Championship.
Some would consider Wales to be dark horses for the 2019 Championship and that’s perhaps reflected in what look to be a whole host of excellent Fantasy Rugby budget players in their squad.
Their back-row selection looks tricky to predict but Josh Navidi and Justin Tipuric – both at a frugal 13 stars – look good options given their all-court games.
Ken Owens, powerful ball-carrier that he is, is more cost effective than all of Stuart McInally, Rory Best, Guilhem Guirado and Jamie George.
But perhaps the best of all looks to be fly-half Gareth Anscombe, who started three autumn matches at No.10 for his country.
There are six fly-halves more expensive than Anscombe in Fantasy Rugby and yet he is possessor of a scintillating attacking game and also able to cover full-back – get on him.