The eagerly anticipated resumption of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations is now less than 24 hours away which, of course, means the countdown is almost over to Round 3 of our Fantasy Rugby game.
The first of two tantalising Saturday afternoon fixtures sees Ireland travel to Rome to take on Italy, with both sides hungry to kick-start their campaigns with a first Championship win this year.
Then, defending champions England take on so-far unbeaten Wales at Principality Stadium, with Eddie Jones’ visitors aiming to keep pace with the 2019 Grand Slam winners who are chasing the Triple Crown.
Amidst all the drama a number of individuals are set to stand out from the crowd, driving their nation over the line to Guinness Six Nations glory while earning crucial Fantasy Rugby points along the way.
We’ve already shared our must-have backs and must-have forwards so far this week, but here’s a final fantasy preview to help you make those crucial final decisions ahead of the action.
Get your Fantasy Rugby Round 3 team sorted now!
Italy v Ireland
The Stadio Olimpico is the venue for the first attraction of the weekend, as both Italy and Ireland bid to get off the mark in the 2021 Championship following defeats in their opening two encounters.
The Azzurri offered glimpses of their potential despite ultimately going down 41-18 to England at Twickenham last time out, with Franco Smith’s men giving the 2020 winners an early scare thanks to Montanna Ioane’s second-minute try.
There is plenty of value to be found in Italy’s unchanged line-up this weekend, with Benetton wing wizard Ioane priced at 12.9 stars, and Luca Sperandio – who crossed in the Round 1 defeat to France – a mere 8.9 stars.
In the forwards, flanker Sebastian Negri (12.0 stars) has made 96 metres with the ball and 21 tackles so far this Championship, and is backed for a big points showing in Round 3.
Young fly-half Paolo Garbisi has to be one name being considered by Fantasy bosses far and wide, with the 20-year-old (11.8 stars) currently sixth in the point-scoring ranks, and a significantly cheaper option than his opposite number, Johnny Sexton (15.1 stars).
Sexton returns to captain Ireland as one of seven changes made by head coach Andy Farrell, with Jordan Larmour, Dave Kilcoyne, Ronan Kelleher, Tadhg Furlong, James Ryan and Will Connors also being drafted in.
Connors (10.3 stars) will look to stamp his authority on the clash alongside Tadhg Beirne (12.4 stars) in the Irish back row, with the latter having earned selection for both Fantasy Rugby Team of the Weeks so far this year while playing in the second row.
Stalwart centre Garry Ringrose represents Ireland’s second priciest option at 15.6 stars, but the 48.4 points he earned to make the Round 1 Team of the Week demonstrates that he’s likely to be a reliable pick.
Wales v England
Saturday’s late game promises a feast of thrills and spills as Wales look to maintain their bid for a clean sweep of wins at home to rivals England.
Where else to start than with Louis Rees-Zammit for the hosts, who has so far set the Championship alight with three tries.
His double last time out against Scotland – as well as 65 metres and three clean breaks – helped him earn 92.0 points and a place in the Team of the Week, and though his services will require 15.9 stars you can bet your bottom dollar he will be fired up to go again at Principality Stadium.
George North (16.6 stars) will become the youngest player in history to reach 100 Test caps for his country after coming back into the Wales side as one of five changes, and he will be hoping to mark the occasion by earning plenty of Fantasy points.
Wyn Jones (15.5 stars) and Ken Owens (13.0 stars) have kept their places in Wayne Pivac’s XV after making the Round 2 Fantasy Rugby Team of the Week, and will surely be relishing the challenge of coming up against England’s steely pack.
The Red Rose’s Kyle Sinckler (13.9 stars) completed that Fantasy front row alongside Jones and Owens and will be aiming to win the forward battle, while Jamie George (13.6 stars) and Mark Wilson (12.0 stars) return to an England side chasing their second win of the 2021 Championship.
Elsewhere, winger Anthony Watson (16.8 stars) is the most expensive player competing this weekend, but his top-scoring performance last time out suggests he’s unlikely to let you down if you take the plunge.