With the 2019 Guinness Six Nations almost upon us, time is running out to select your Fantasy Rugby team ahead of the opening round of action.
Thankfully, we’re here to help if you’re struggling to decide who to select in your XV, with our handy guide to the tip and tricks you need to employ to achieve success available here.
And in our latest look at the players you will want to pick to claim bragging rights over your friends, here’s the lowdown on the five backs you must have this weekend.
Stuart Hogg – 15.0
He may be the joint-most expensive full-back in the game, but it’s hard to look past Scotland and Glasgow Warriors star Stuart Hogg for the opening round of games.
The 26-year-old played every game of last year’s Championship so you can rest easy in the knowledge that he will be one of the main men for Gregor Townsend.
He has also been previously crowned Player of the Championship twice, back in 2016 and 2017, so has a history of bringing his A-game to the Guinness Six Nations.
Scotland also welcome Italy in Round One to BT Murrayfield, where they have a formidable home record, and Hogg will be expected to be in the tries for the hosts against the Azzurri.
Jacob Stockdale – 16.0
From one Player of the Championship to another. Jacob Stockdale was the breakout star of the 2018 Championship, with the winger taking the crown that Hogg had previously held.
The Ulsterman scored a record seven tries in the Championship as Ireland completed only their third ever Grand Slam triumph, including one in the win against England at Twickenham.
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He has continued to run riot against defences this season, scoring seven in his last eight matches for Ulster, and looks set to be a key figure in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.
While he will be a marked man this year, having gone under the radar before last year’s Championship, selecting him should almost guarantee of points.
Huw Jones – 14.0
The Scotland centre is a cheaper option than some of his international counterparts and played in every game of last year’s Championship as Gregor Townsend’s side finished third.
His try-scoring exploits have also been incredibly impressive at Test level, with ten in 19 matches, including five in ten starts in the Guinness Six Nations.
With Italy first up in Round One, the 25-year-old Glasgow Warriors man would appear to be an ideal pick and will likely be a consistent scorer throughout the Championship.
Another player who could offer good value if Jones doesn’t take your fancy is Wales’ Hadleigh Parkes, who has plenty of pedigree in the Guinness Six Nations and also costs 14.0.
Johnny Sexton – 16.0
How can you leave out the World Rugby Player of the Year? Johnny Sexton is the most expensive fly-half on offer but he is worth every penny as the main man for Ireland.
His dramatic last-gasp drop goal against France in the opening round of last year’s Championship set Joe Schmidt’s side on a course for the Grand Slam title.
The 33-year-old continued to pull the strings on the pitch as they claimed the crown, while he was also key to a series victory in Australia and a first home win over New Zealand.
Another good option should Sexton’s cost put you off would be Italy’s Tommaso Allan, who is considerably cheaper at 11.0 and was one of the standout players last year.
Greig Laidlaw – 15.0
Not the most expensive of the scrum-halves on offer – Ireland’s Conor Murray holds that honour – Greig Laidlaw should prove good value for Fantasy Rugby players at 15.0.
While he faces competition from Ali Price and Henry Pyrgos for his position, Laidlaw is Scotland’s captain and will be guaranteed to start against Italy at BT Murrayfield.
The 33-year-old has made 32 Championships appearances, including 30 starts, and should provide instant points for those who have him in their side with his kicks at goal.
In fact, his kicking ability could prove crucial in giving Fantasy Rugby players an early edge, while France’s Morgan Parra presents another good option at 15.0.