Red card to Farrell
Even the best can fall on the wrong side of the laws.

We’re often reminded that rugby is a game of discipline. When it’s played on a knife’s edge in the Guinness Six Nations, though, sometimes anything can happen.

Much of this can come down to a referee’s interpretation, of course, and what they are able to see (or, as can be the case, not see). A breakdown of the most carded players in the Championship since 2000 may surprise you – especially if you associate the long, trudging walk to the sin bin with a fiery prop or an errant openside.


The player topping the list of the most carded in the Championship is Wales’ Liam Williams, with five yellows in his Six Nations career. Head coach Warren Gatland addressed the issue with the fullback several years ago, commenting that he didn’t want Williams “to lose that emotion”. The message was clear: don’t play conservatively, but don’t be completely reckless either. Williams is unavailable for this year’s Championship due to his club commitments in Japan, so that won't be a consideration for fantasy players in 2024.

Second with four yellow cards and one red is another free-wheeling back, Scotland fly-half Finn Russell. The latter came after his attempt to fend off France’s Brice Dulin in 2021 ended up catching the fullback in the throat. In the case of his sin-binning last year against Wales for an intentional knock-on, opposing fly-half Dan Biggar kicked what proved to be the match-winning drop goal in his absence for a final scoreline of 20-17. If Russell had managed to grasp the ball, though, he would have been hailed as a hero. Fine lines.

In joint-third are Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray and England back-rower James Haskell, with four yellows each. Coincidentally, one of Haskell’s sin-binnings was a result of a dangerous tackle on Murray in 2016, after which the Wasps forward was quoted as saying, “I think my life flashed before my eyes when I got the yellow and I thought if we lost, I may have to run straight out of the stadium!”

What do all these players have in common, then, besides their shared experiences of seeing yellow? All have been integral to title-winning campaigns for their clubs or countries, and with hundreds of caps between them, it’s no surprise that either of them has picked up a card (or five) in that time.

Will this sway your selection when it comes to selecting someone like Russell in Fantasy Rugby 2024? Consider that Russell was overall the third-highest points scorer in last year’s game with 59.7 points. The unavailable Williams was no slouch, either, in 20th position (40.3). Some players may pick up the odd card - and yes, more than others - but they're often more than worth the risk for fantasy selectors.

Liam Williams’s yellow cards: v Italy, 2018; France, 2021; England, 2022; Ireland, 2023.

Finn Russell’s yellow cards: v Wales, 2015; Italy, 2016; England, 2021. Red card: France, 2021.

Conor Murray’s yellow cards: v Wales, 2013; Italy, 2013; Italy, 2020; England, 2021.

James Haskell’s yellow cards: vItaly, 2009; Ireland, 2013; France, 2015; Ireland, 2016.