The first two rounds of the Guinness Six Nations have given us six epic fixtures and provided plenty of Fantasy Rugby talking points.
As we approach the first rest week of the 2023 Championship, it is time to look at who we should be paying more attention to and who we could perhaps consider removing after the first two rounds.
So, without further ado, we look at three players who have delivered above expectation and three who have been disappointing up to now.
Federico Ruzza (Italy – Second Row – 11.5 stars)
Two very impressive performances in a row from Italy second row Federico Ruzza have seen him amass 76.4 fantasy points so far and rise in value from 11 stars to 11.5.
Three of his 17 tackles have been dominant (18%), crucial when dominant tackles are worth extra points, while he has also made two line-breaks and 87 metres along the way.
Probably most importantly for Ruzza as a second row is his one lineout steal – with each one making seven points. Based on current form, there could be plenty more coming his way.
Kyle Steyn (Scotland – Back Three – 15.3 stars)
One of the biggest price changes came from Kyle Steyn, whose price rose from 13.6 stars to 15.3 after his brace of tries at BT Murrayfield in Scotland’s 35-7 win over Wales.
It is not just tries Steyn is capable of though, notching up 129 metres across the two matches (an average of 64.5 metres per match), adding a try assist to his two scores.
A powerful runner, he has also made five line-breaks so far, earning seven points each time. Duhan van der Merwe or Finn Russell will comfortably be the pick of the Scotland backs up to now, but Steyn represents a more under the radar high scorer.
Lewis Ludlam (England – Back Row – 13.9 stars)
Another player who looks significantly undervalued, Lewis Ludlam has been one of the top performing back row forwards so far this Championship, with a hugely impressive 102.4 points.
His initial valuation of 12 stars has increased substantially since Round 1, with two powerful ball-carrying displays at blindside flanker, following on from a great spell of form at Northampton Saints.
His most eye-catching moment came when he assisted Max Malins’ second try against Scotland at Twickenham last week, but he has been on fire on both sides of the ball, with 25 tackles (four dominant) and a breakdown steal in defence and an astounding 102 metres made with ball in hand.
Ludlam has been one of England’s stand-out performers so far, and ahead of a trip to Cardiff in 10 days’ time, he will be another who has to be among your top picks.
Disappointments so far:
Josh Adams (Wales – Back Three – 16 stars)
One of the most prolific finishers in the Championship in recent years, Adams has not hit his best form during this year’s action, scoring just 54.4 points in the first two rounds and uncharacteristically failing to be among the tries and making just 57 metres so far.
He has shown strong defensive form, making eight tackles – four of which were dominant, while also making one turnover.
It has been far from the optimal start to the Championship for Wales, who suffered defeats against Ireland and Scotland, losing two in a row for the first time since 2007, and Adams has suffered through lack of service.
He is such a quality player he may become important again in the fantasy game, but right now, he is probably best avoided with so many other quality wingers around.
Mack Hansen (Ireland – Back Three – 14.1 stars)
Perhaps a harsh inclusion, given Hansen has not been poor, but expectations were soaring around the winger after last year’s phenomenal Championship.
He has made 66.4 points across the opening two games but that is a significantly lower total when compared to fellow Ireland back three players Hugo Keenan and James Lowe.
He has made 97 metres, which is by no means poor, but is dwarfed by Keenan’s 291 and Lowe’s 206 – ultimately there just is not room to have all three Ireland back three players, and at the moment it looks like Hansen is the one to avoid.
Romain Ntamack (France – Fly-Half – 16.5 stars)
Another inclusion that may come as a surprise, given Ntamack has been impressive for France, but in the fantasy world he is some way behind the likes of Finn Russell, Johnny Sexton and Tomasso Allan.
He has already dropped from 17 stars to 16.5, mustering only 49.3 points, with his one notable moment coming with a pinpoint cross kick against Italy.
Ntamack will no doubt bounce back, but with his price falling and others currently doing the business for less, there may be preferable fly-half alternatives to the Frenchman.