A chat with the fantasy top-scorer from the last round proves to be very entertaining indeed!

Alec Reid - who wanted it to be known that he is a proud member of the Aquafury Tag Rugby Team who won the Laya Healthcare Beginner Tag Rugby League 8 Bowl Championship in 2023 - led the way in Round 3 after a number of inspired selections in including captain Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe, Ange Capuozzo, Huw Jones, Ben Earl, Tadhg Beirne and Supersub Ronan Kelleher. Alec ended up with a huge 489 points in Round 3, so we spoke to him to try and get some tips leading into Round 4…

First of all congratulations again on an amazing performance in Round 3! Are you a regular fantasy rugby player?

AR: Not really. I played it for the first-time last year during the Rugby World Cup when I was invited to join a league at my work and I thought best to capitalise on this opportunity to impress the top brass and distinguish myself as the golden goose amongst the otherwise feeble chickens I work with. I got off to a great start and for a long time I was that golden goose! I grabbed the attention of some important people when I backed Garbisi as my super kicker against Namibia, even though in the same weekend Ireland had a guaranteed high scoring game against Romania and selecting Sexton should have been a no brainer.

I really started to turn heads when I selected 3 Portuguese players in that nail-biting win against Fiji, a move that any rugby pundit worth his salt would call bold, brave and brilliant. I was good – damn good - and getting a reputation as a ‘guy to watch’. But the top spot comes with pressure – serious pressure – and ultimately this got to me. I had to sustain this façade as the guy who could see beyond the 80 minutes, as the fella with the cure for player selection, as the guy who other’s had begun to think could turn water into wine.

So I hedged all my bets on one big idea I called ‘The Great Aussie Comeback’ – a catastrophic mistake! Instead we got ‘The Great Walloping of the Wallabies’. For a brief moment I was that golden goose, flying higher than all others, but ultimately I finished no better than a poorly plucked broiler at the very back of the coup. But that’s fantasy rugby – one day you’re cock of the walk, the next a feather duster.

Did you have a strategy in your team selection or was it more a case of going with your gut feeling?

AR: There’s more than one way to stuff a duck in a tumble dryer, so I try not to stick to any one strategy in case I end up with a wet duck and a broken tumble dryer. But if you’re in a pinch and need to select a quick 15, I go for the following;

Props – There is a lot of getting up and down in rugby and these guys are very heavy, not to mention they spend a lot of the game frustrated playing a type of thumb war with their ears against an equally annoyed behemoth (aka, they are easily irritated!). So as opposed to looking for try-scorers, consider picking the ones that in general give away the least amount of penalties.

Hookers – Although they get a tight squeeze in the scrum, they get the cushiest spot in the maul and just have to fall over correctly at the end to get a score – so if it looks like there is going to be a lot of pushing and shoving, pick the hooker with the biggest friends.

Second Rows – It’s hard to find a way of saying “Any Irish one will do” without being obvious about it, but in general I have found that the fellas who occupy this position play very well when they adorn green garments and shamrocks on their socks.

Back Rows – These guys are wildly unpredictable. Some have five turnovers in a single half and others you forget are even there until they charge headfirst into a centre and get sent to the sin bin. So if you’re unsure pick the least attractive ones as they have probably consistently seen the most action.

Scrum-Half – The best one went to the other side of the Atlantic to play with seven fellas instead of fifteen, so just pick whichever is your favourite. They’re guaranteed to touch the ball; you can’t lose.

Fly-Half – Pick the one with the most scuffs on his boots.

Centres – I have found the hybrid models to be more reliable than the sporty versions – they generally fair better taking on speed bumps and spend less time needing repairs at the mechanics.

Back Three – They’re all brilliant when they have the ball, but it’s very hard to guarantee that they’ll definitely get a chance to hold it. Perhaps try focusing on whether the opposing team’s number 10 prefers kicking to the left or right because he’s often better at giving them the ball than their own teammates.

Did you use stats to help drive your selections?

AR: None. [France v Italy] was a highly unpredictable outcome as before that game the stats were very much in France’s favour given that France had won 45 out of the 48 previous clashes of the two teams. I am sure every Italian playing that match and watching in the stand knew that stat but they still had tears in their eyes belting out their national anthem and full confidence that France weren’t going to get their 46th win. Stats can’t explain a phenomenon like the enduring Italian spirit, so stuff the stats!

Clearly your team performed from 1-15 but do you still have any selection regrets at all?

AR: I wish I had the nerve to back more Italians. I had four French players selected and save for Ollivon scoring that very questionable try they were overall disappointing to watch. Capuozzo was electric though! It was like watching a Fiat Punto with a custom fitted V8 engine run rings around long-past-their-best Citroën Berlingos. So I am definitely going for a softer shade of blue in my selections this time round.

As we all know, the Supersub can be the difference between a good game week and a league-winning gameweek. Do you have a strategy as to who you select there?

AR: Your best bet is a bulky forward – probably a cheeky hooker that can sneak a try in at the back of a lazy maul in the last few minutes. Wet hands, tired legs, big collisions and for at least one team an impending sense of doom all come into play in the last quarter, so best to rely on raw power to get you over the line as opposed to any fancy plays you might have seen in films like The Mighty Ducks or Space Jam.

If there’s one single tip that you’d give to a new fantasy rugby manager, what would it be?

AR: There is a guy I work with called Jake who is fairly clueless with rugby but really wants to be good at his fantasy selections like I am, so he asked me, “Al, will I ever be one of the true greats like you?”.

I said: “Kid, anyone can be a champ. There’s no such thing as a winning design for a rugby player. Some are big, some are fast, some are wiggly, and some are very jiggly but it doesn’t seem to slow them down. So you should go with your gut. Heck, maybe you're one of those fellas who’s got better eyes in your belly than in your head.”

Did you use any specific websites or resources to help your team planning?

AR: Fantasy Rugby Geek of course, and the back pages of the Donegal Democrat.

Will you be changing your approach at all for Round 4? Any lessons you learned from your fantasy selections in Round 3?

AR: I was the best in the Guinness Men's Six Nations Fantasy Rugby League 2024 in round 3 selections and I’m going to spend the remaining time I have until round 4 commences reminding people of this monumental achievement. I have not learned any humility, caution for the future or how to try and sustain this success. At the moment I am simply the best – hip hip hooray for me. I know I’m going to be swiftly humbled very soon, but I have at least until Saturday to ride the wave!

Looking ahead to the Round 4 games are there any players you have your eye on to bring in your team?

AR: Very excited at the possibility of Hugo Keenan coming back for Ireland. Pressure will come on England against a heavy-hitting Irish pack and they’ll look to the sky for answers. Hugo will spend half the game in the air, which ironically suits him down to the ground.

You can follow The Fantasy Rugby Geek on X or visit and play in the Fantasy Rugby Geek League here.