NatWest 6 Nations Fantasy Rugby Panel: Round Four – the forwards

Scotland’s John Barclay 11/2/2018
Things are really starting to heat up in the NatWest 6 Nations as we approach the penultimate round of fixtures, with Ireland currently leading the way.

Things are really starting to heat up in the NatWest 6 Nations as we approach the penultimate round of fixtures, with Ireland currently leading the way.

Scotland produced a sensational victory over England in Round Three while France got their first win on the board with victory over Italy in Marseille.

But it’s Ireland who lead the way with three straight victories heading into a mouth-watering contest with Scotland in Dublin.

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That contest will have a major bearing on the NatWest 6 Nations Fantasy game so we’ve brought together our panel of Luke Baker, Charlie Talbot-Smith and Paul Eddison to discuss who should make your team.   Today the focus is on the forwards and there’s plenty of option across all six countries.   Paul Eddison: I’d be tempted to look at Elliott Dee in the Wales front row against Italy, he has come through over the last few years and established himself in a Dragons team which has had some struggles but has looked very good and has done well off of the bench. He’s been waiting for this opportunity and I wouldn’t be surprised if he grabbed it with both hands. I can see him being quite an impact player, he’s very dynamic and involved in a few great Dragons tries this season so he’s one to look out for.   Charlie Talbot-Smith: I’m going to say James Davies. The game recognises his values because despite not making his debut, he is already up at 13.10 stars but he will get you points. He loves a turnover and is also a superb attacking outlet, he’s actually scored a deceptive amount of tries. Ask any observer of the Guinness Pro14 and he’s been the best openside in the league and now he gets his chance on the international stage. He’s not been chucked in, he’s playing alongside Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau so it’s a pretty tasty unit so you will be getting some points.

Luke Baker: There’s not much difference in terms of value between the Wales back-rowers with Davies costing the same as Taulupe Faletau at 13.10 and Tipuric is only 13.15. I like Faletau – he’s a proven commodity at international level. He’s been there and done it and now he’ll be captaining Wales for the first time. He’ll want to make an impression and I have an inkling he might get over the whitewash. If you want to load up on Welshmen then Nicky Smith is only 8.5 stars as well, starting in the front row. You’re always shooting a bit blind with props so I think there’s some value there and someone I will be targeting.   CTS: Sticking in that same game, we’ve mentioned him before but big Sebastian Negri, Hartpury College’s finest, is still only 8.55 stars. Playing in the back row, he’s in the game as a lock and was absolutely totemic for Italy. He was their Sergio Parisse in the game against France. Get yourself a bit of Seb!   PE: Talking of Hartpury College alumni, Jake Polledri is back in the Italy squad and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets his shot this time. He’s been tearing it up for Gloucester this season. Italy have quite a bit of depth in the back row but if he gets a start then he’s definitely worth a look at.   CTS: First game of the weekend is of course, Ireland vs Scotland, the Scotland team is out and John Barclay, who in my opinion, was the best player on the pitch against England, you can still get for just 12 stars. Compared to a lot of back-rowers like Sam Simmonds who is 16.75 stars, that’s crazy value. So I’d be having a taste of him.   LB: Dan Leavy, still at 12.6 stars, I think he’s the value in the Irish back row there. He’s been absolutely superb as we’ve mentioned before for Leinster this season and he’s been superb at international level, scoring a try last time out. There’s still some value in him. We say it every week but there’s value in the Irish second row. When the team’s out, have a look and pick your favourite.

PE:  I’d be quite interested in Cian Healy. He’s still very much first choice although he’s going up against Simon Berghan – who I think has been one of the revelations of the Championship. Berghan is the one to look out for from a Scottish perspective.   CTS: And what about the Frenchmen Paul, who will do the damage in Paris?   PE: It’s probably going to be the same XV that played against Italy. In terms of the forwards, Yacouba Camara was man of the match. He looks dangerous every time he carries the ball and he’s all over the park so I’d be having a look at him. He’s a big line-out option as well.   CTS: It’s worth having a look at Nathan Hughes, who is also only 12.35 stars, considering how much ball he carries, he’s going to get you metres.   LB: Joe Launchbury is still only 14.55 stars in the second row as well, which is not too much for somebody who’s a potential man of the match every time he steps on the pitch.   CTS: The only other little curveball I have was Luke Cowan-Dickie at 10.4 – he has been absolutely tearing it up for the Exeter Chiefs the last few months. He looks back to his rampaging best. Give him 20 minutes against a tiring French defence and he could get you points.   LB: He’s not going to be cheap but if Dylan Hartley does miss out then Jamie George will get the start.   CTS: He’s actually worth more than Hartley.   LB: Which just shows how deadly a ball carrier he is. He’s been unlucky that he’s been stuck behind captain fantastic, Mr Hartley. He’s so dynamic with ball in hand. He would want to prove a point from the start if he does get the nod, so Jamie George at 13.7 stars looks interesting to me.