Fantasy Scout: Round 5 Differential Picks

Blair Kinghorn scores their fourth try 11/2/2023
As the 2023 Guinness Six Nations draws to a close, time is running out to get the better of your friends and family in Guinness Six Nations Fantasy Rugby.

As the 2023 Guinness Six Nations draws to a close, time is running out to get the better of your friends and family in Guinness Six Nations Fantasy Rugby.

Only Super Saturday is to come, meaning you have just three matches to make sure you come out on top and have bragging rights for another year.

That means it will be important for you to consider your picks wisely this week, while differential picks could be hugely important to scale up your leagues and the overall standings.

Short of time? Looking for inspiration? No need to panic, as we have shortlisted three candidates to help you finish the Championship strongly.

François Cros (France) – Back-Row – 15.3 stars

François Cros had previously had to settle for a spot on the bench for Les Bleus, but Toulouse teammate Anthony Jelonch’s ACL tear meant he was given the opportunity to step up again into the starting XV.

It proved to be something of a dream return for Cros, who combined fantastically alongside Charles Ollivon and Gregory Alldritt as Fabien Galthié re-formed his original back row in the 53-10 thrashing of England.

Ollivon may have been the one in the tries when scoring a brace, while Alldritt was back to his powerful best with several big carries, but Cros’ performance was not one to ignore and he showed France that, while Jelonch is a loss, they will be able to more than cope.

Cros made a team-leading 13 tackles at Twickenham, while he also broke through three tackles, more than both Ollivon and Alldritt, making a quietly impressive 33 metres from four carries.

That saw him earn 33.6 points at Twickenham, some way off Ollivon and Alldritt, but it would appear that Cros’ points are not just sustainable but he could deliver even more against Wales.

At 15.3 stars he is significantly cheaper than his back row comrades, potentially allowing you to squeeze in that extra premium player, while Cros will be significantly less owned than both Ollivon and Alldritt, acting as a genuine differential.

Ryan Baird (Ireland) – Second Row – 12 stars

Ireland’s large casualty list at BT Murrayfield last weekend included Iain Henderson, who suffered a broken forearm and after surgery is set for some time on the side-lines.

That, combined with the injury to Tadhg Beirne earlier in the Championship means there will almost certainly be an opportunity for Ryan Baird, who was a replacement in Edinburgh, to start alongside James Ryan against England on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Leinster second row has only had glimpses so far to showcase his talents in the Championship, having come off the bench against Italy and Scotland, but now with the chance to play from the start against England as Ireland chase the Grand Slam, he comes in at great value at 12 stars.

In just 84 minutes this Championship, Baird has won two turnovers, showing his ability to wreak havoc, while he also has 31 metres from eight carries and, perhaps most importantly as a second row, also has a lineout steal.

Those are very promising stats indeed and would suggest he can be among the points again this weekend.

He will be a good omen too for Ireland, having not lost a match for club or country since June 2021.

Blair Kinghorn (Scotland) – Fly-half – 14.6 stars

Scotland are another side with significant injury absentees for Super Saturday, with both Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg ruled out for the clash with Italy.

That means that Blair Kinghorn will be called to step up at fly-half.

The Edinburgh utility-back has mainly played at No.10 this season for his club and has been Finn Russell’s deputy on the bench in three of the four matches this Championship but did replace Stuart Hogg when he went off injured against Wales and went on to score an excellent try from full-back.

Kinghorn is set to be a hugely important figure for Scotland this weekend, as they look to seal third place in the Championship for the first time since 2018.

His performance in that 35-7 win over Wales is the one to go off, with Kinghorn getting 67 of his 107 minutes in that game, and he was hugely effective, making 110 metres from just nine carries, scoring a try and breaking through six tackles (only Duhan Van Der Merwe had more that game).

That led to a huge 62.7 points that day and greatly benefitted those that super subbed him that week, this week he can post similar numbers and will be one to seriously consider.