Smith or Sexton? LRZ or VDM? And does the budget stretch to Dupont?
Those are all dilemmas budding rugby aficionados will be mulling over for the next eight weeks following the launch of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations Fantasy Rugby game.
Fantasy Rugby offers something for everyone – whether you’re a fanatic who hasn’t missed a game since five nations became six or still working out your flankers from your full-backs, the basics remain constant. Pick a squad, get creative with your team name and watch the points roll in as you do battle with friends and family for the right to earn the bragging rights.
Play Guinness Six Nations Fantasy Rugby 2022!
How does it work?
Each Fantasy Rugby squad is made up of 18 players – a starting XV with three substitutes.
Every player is assigned a value and you have a budget of 250 stars to work with, so you’ll have to be savvy when it comes to your selections and work out who the value picks are in addition to the big-money superstars.
Up to four players can be selected from any one nation and the value of players evolves according to their performances on the pitch over the course of the competition.
How do I score points?
Points are earned in a variety of ways in Fantasy Rugby. Players will earn ‘team’ points – applied in proportion to their presence in the game – and ‘rugby player’ points, determined by their individual statistics.
There are also a couple of chips to play carefully. Each squad must have a captain, whose points will be doubled, while a nominated supersub will see their points tripled if they come off the bench during their real match.
If the nominated supersub starts, or does not play, his points will be halved as for all of the other substitutes.
Consulting the fixture list is key when it comes to the ‘team’ points. Success on home soil earns players eight points (with four for a draw and just one for a defeat) but winning on the road is particularly lucrative. Players on a victorious away team will collect 12 points, with six for a draw and three for a defeat.
In addition, 0.2 points will be added or taken away from your score for every point separating the two teams in each player’s match, meaning every point on the board will be pivotal.
When it comes to ‘rugby player’ points, it won’t be a surprise to learn that tries are where the big hauls are to be found.
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Should one of your players cross the whitewash, they will earn 15 points, while the choice of your designated kicker is also key. Conversions and penalties gain you three points, and a drop goal six.
But there are plenty more ways for your players to earn healthy tallies away from the headline-grabbing moments.
Players earn three points for every defender beaten in the Championship and a further 0.3 for every metre gained, so fleet-footed backs and ball-carrying forwards will be in demand.
Defensive duties are not neglected in Fantasy Rugby either, with every tackle worth a point and those deemed dominant tackles worth three.
Those named as the official Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match will earn 15 points for their team but disciplinary indiscretions will be punished, with yellow and red cards bringing reductions of five and ten points respectively.
Who should I pick?
This is the million-dollar – or should we say 250-star – question.
A look at last year’s statistics can provide a valuable steer and show why Duhan van der Merwe is likely to be a popular pick.
The Scotland wing was the leading try-scorer in the 2021 Championship with five and also led the way for defenders beaten (32), making 472 metres in the process.
France’s Brice Dulin was the only man to carry further than van der Merwe last time out and also scored three tries, while Louis Rees-Zammit and Anthony Watson crossed four times apiece.
Johnny Sexton’s 15 penalties and 10 conversions made him the Championship’s top point-scorer a year ago and the timeless Irish fly-half is ready to go again in 2022.
Of the forwards, three of the top four tacklers in 2021 came from the Welsh pack but all three – Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones and Taulupe Faletau – will miss the start of this year’s Championship through injury.
Gregory Alldritt and Sebastian Negri both featured in the top 10 for tackles and carries and could find their way into plenty of Fantasy Rugby squads this time around.
Who are the big money picks?
It is perhaps unsurprising to see one name alone listed in the top dollar 19.0-star bracket – Antoine Dupont.
The 2020 Player of the Championship and reigning World Rugby Player of the Year will hope to light up another Guinness Six Nations but any managers snapping him up may have to make budget sacrifices elsewhere.
Maro Itoje and Stuart Hogg are priced at 18.0 stars while last year’s Player of the Championship, Hamish Watson, is one of seven players occupying the 17.0 price tag ahead of Round 1.
Those looking for bargains could do a lot worse than the 13.0-rated Brice Dulin while Ireland back-rower Caelan Doris looks good value at 14.0 stars – the same price as Wales skipper Dan Biggar.
And if you’re suffering from selection headaches, fear not. We’ll be providing handy Fantasy Rugby hints and tips throughout the competition, so keep an eye on www.sixnationsrugby.com to steal a march on your mates!
Whoever comes out on top overall, following in the footsteps of Thomas The Bantengine in 2021, will earn the ultimate prize – two tickets to a 2023 match of your choice, flights within Europe and one night hotel accommodation (for two people).