Guinness Six Nations Fantasy Rugby Round Preview: Round 5

Gregory Alldritt is tackled by Robbie Henshaw 31/10/2020
The 2022 Guinness Six Nations draws to a conclusion this weekend and after four absorbing rounds of action, let us examine the best last-minute picks for your Fantasy Rugby squad.

The 2022 Guinness Six Nations draws to a conclusion this weekend and after four absorbing rounds of action, let us examine the best last-minute picks for your Fantasy Rugby squad.

The final deadline is set for kick-off in the Wales v Italy fixture – 2.15pm on Saturday 19 March, so there is still ample time to make those all-important changes.

With the fight for the Championship still on, as well as a three-way battle for third, there is so much to play for. So what better time to look at who has performed best across the tournament before finalising your team.

James Lowe cemented his place as one of the stars of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations when he scooped the player of the round award in Round 4.

His early try helped Ireland on their way in that memorable 32-15 win at Twickenham.

That effort followed a brace against Italy, and the winger’s value has rocketed from 12 stars in Round 1 to 17.5 ahead of Round 5, making him the joint-fifth most expensive player.

He will be looking to add to his tally in victory against Scotland on Saturday, and then hope that England can beat France to cap a perfect weekend for the Leinster speedster.

But standing between him and the Championship trophy is a France side led both figuratively and literally by Antoine Dupont.

The World Rugby Player of the Year has enjoyed a fine campaign, including a player of the round award for his contribution in Les Bleus 36-17 demolition of Scotland.

He is the most expensive player on the board at 20.2 stars, just ahead of Scotland’s Stuart Hogg.

As good as France’s free-flowing attacking rugby has been, the forwards have been equally impressive.

Gregory Alldritt is the most expensive forward available at 17.5 stars. He leads the way for number of carries in the tournament and may be worth the investment when he faces an England defence possibly still bruising from the Ireland defeat.

Like the Championship itself, France are slight favourites to top the individual try-scoring charts.

The mercurial pair of Damian Penaud and Gabin Villiere are currently tied with Ireland’s Lowe on three scores each.

Villiere has led the way since Round 1 but has been unable to add to his tally since a hat-trick against Italy on the opening weekend.

He comes out cheapest of the three at 15.8 stars, but Penaud has scored in both of his previous games against England, so may justify the extra price at 17.4 stars.

Last year’s standout winger Duhan van der Merwe is suspended but fellow British and Irish Lion and last year’s breakout star, Louis Rees-Zammit is available for 14.6 stars.

At this late stage where every point counts it is worth considering those who might have gone under the radar but could make all the difference in Round 5.

The best picks may come from Wales, who are pushing for a third-place finish and will be buoyed on by a Principality Stadium celebrating Alun Wyn Jones’ 150th and Dan Biggar’s 100th Wales caps.

Weekend in Numbers heading into Super Saturday

Willis Halaholo returns to the Welsh midfield to make his first appearance of the tournament. He’ll be looking to an instant impact against Italy and nail down the 12 jersey so could be worth backing at 12.8 stars.

Also worth considering is Gareth Davies, who starts at scrum-half for the first time this campaign. He scored when the Azzurri last visited Wales in the Autumn Nations Cup of 2020 and is available for just 12.0 stars.

If you have reached your maximum allocation for Wales players then Scotland wing Kyle Steyn might appeal for 13.3 stars. He made a whopping 77 metres against Italy and has been rewarded with a second consecutive start in Dublin.

Wales boast the top four for most selected players this week as fans pledge their hopes on a fruitful display against Italy.

Louis Rees-Zammit tops the list as Wayne Pivac shows renewed faith in the young flyer after leaving him out for Wales’ visit to Twickenham.

Josh Adams is second in the list at 15.1 stars, with fellow back Dan Biggar (14.6 stars) and Taulupe Faletau (15.0 stars) concluding the top four.

Marcus Smith has been dropped by a number of fans ahead of the final round. Despite topping the overall points charts in the tournament it seems that the calibre of opposition he will meet this weekend is discouraging fans from retaining the fly-half.

Scotland pair Darcy Graham and Stuart Hogg top the list despite both men getting on the scoresheet in Italy last weekend. As is the case with Smith, a daunting away trip may explain their removal.

A smart captain pick could make all the difference and help pick up a few crucial extra points in the final round.

On paper the Welsh backs look smart bets as they aim to finish their campaign in style against Italy.

But they have registered just five tries so far this campaign, and only one of those scorers, Josh Adams, starts this weekend.

Guinness Six Nations Player of the Championship – the recent winners

So the form may be with the Irish stars who have produced consistently over the last seven weeks. Lowe (17.5 stars), Hugo Keenan (17.1 stars) and Mack Hansen (13.4 stars) have all crossed at least once.

With Andy Farrell’s side needing a bonus-point win to really pile the pressure on France, one of the Irish trio may prove the shrewdest appointment.