frg r4
As we move past the halfway point of the 2024 Championship, let's look back on the learnings from Round 3.

We can’t really start anywhere else than with the magnificent performance for Scotland of Duhan van der Merwe. Showing us all, yet again, that he is truly capable of creating something out of nothing, the Scot was simply unstoppable against England.

Van der Merwe’s fantasy points total of 68 was 20 higher than his nearest challenger (Bundee Aki on 48 points) and was also the highest individual fantasy points total in one match of any player in this year’s Championship so far (12 more than Aaron Wainwright’s 56 point haul in Round 1). Van der Merwe scored 3 tries, carried for 112m, beat 6 defenders and made 4 tackles. England will be sick of the sight of him as he is now the first player to score a hat-trick against England in the Six Nations era and he has also now scored 6 tries against England, which takes him one try past Huw Jones as the highest try scorer against England in Six Nations history.

Many would have debated including him in their team this weekend, and for those that didn’t, it’s a sickening blow. With a trip to Italy coming up next for Van der Merwe, he will surely be one of the most popular selections for Round 4 and will probably be the most common captain pick too.

After his heroics against England, Van der Merwe is now the highest try scorer in the 2024 Guinness Men's Six Nations. However, hot on his heels is Dan Sheehan, who is now on 4 tries and is the only player to have scored in every Round of the Six Nations so far. Sheehan’s try against Wales on Saturday was his seventh try scored in the Championship since his debut, and he is now already the top try-scoring hooker since the tournament moved to six teams.

In terms of fantasy points scored, Sheehan stands head and shoulders above all the alternative options in that position (averaging 28.7 fantasy points per game, over 10 points more than the nearest alternative, Gianmarco Lucchesi, who is averaging 17.3 points per game). He’s now starting to be an essential pick at Hooker and in current form, is also someone worth considering as a captain pick (albeit with playing time being the only downside).

On the flipside to Sheehan and Van der Merwe is the pre-tournament hot pick and previously the most expensive player in the game, Damian Penaud. By his lofty standards it has been a very lacklustre tournament, and while he remains a popular pick, fantasy managers now have some serious questions to ask whether to select him for the remaining two rounds. Over the course of the tournament so far, he has averaged 17 points per game, with his solitary try coming in Round 1 against Ireland.

Next up for France are Wales then England, and fantasy managers will have some tough decisions whether to invest their stars in Penaud or not. On form, many might be worth looking elsewhere, however don’t forget that Penaud was the top try-scorer in the 2023 Six Nations, the second highest try-scorer at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, is top try-scorer this season in the Top 14 (with 7 tries in 6 appearances) and has also scored 4 tries in the European Champions Cup this season. Form is temporary, class is permanent, as they say.

Supersub has been barren ground in most cases this season. However, Round 3 finally saw a number of players deliver some excellent returns off the bench. Top performers included Ryan Baird (23 points), Ronan Kelleher (23 points), Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (21 points), Jack Conan (17 points), Cam Redpath (15 points) and Ewan Ashman (15 points). This should fill managers with a bit more confidence for Round 4, with Hooker and Back Row in particular being fruitful positions to target.

Finally, with three rounds of data it is now a good time to look at the outlying players in each position in terms of average score per match. Who are the players standing clear in each position? From the Back Three, the top average scorers are Duhan van der Merwe (36.7 per match), James Lowe (28.3) and Rio Dyer (25.3). In the Centres, three options stand clear, Bundee Aki (33.5), Gaël Fickou (26.7) and Huw Jones (24.3 per match). At Fly-Half, there are two players averaging over 30 points per match, Jack Crowley (32) and Finn Russell (31.3). At Scrum-Half, Alessandro Garbisi is the only option with a relatively high average score, at 20 points per game (and he has only played one match). In the Back Row there are 9 players averaging over 20 points, with Ben Earl (33.7), Tommy Reffell (31) and Grégory Alldritt (29.5) leading the way. In the Second Row, Tadhg Beirne is a massive outlier, averaging 42.5 points per game.

As mentioned previously, Dan Sheehan is the highest scoring Hooker by some margin at 28.7 points per game. Finally, at Prop, Pierre Schoeman is the highest scoring (18.3) with Danilo Fischetti (15.7) close behind. Plenty of food for thought as we have another break between rounds before the Championship returns on the 9th March.

You can follow The Fantasy Rugby Geek on X or visit and play in the Fantasy Rugby Geek League here.