We’re just a few days away from the start of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations and no doubt there are plenty of you putting the finishing touches to your Fantasy Rugby team.
There are probably some positions you’re still mulling over, due to the multitude of options available, or maybe you’re now mindful of your budget, having selected some ‘marquee’ players straight away.
We will try to point you in the right direction by showing you some of the forwards to look out for when Round 1 of the Championship takes place this weekend.
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It all begins at the Aviva Stadium where Ireland will take on defending champions Wales before Scotland welcome England for what is the 140th Calcutta Cup contest at BT Murrayfield later on Saturday.
The opening weekend then draws to a close on Sunday when France, who are sure to have plenty of popular picks this year, face Italy at the Stade de France.
With plenty of Fantasy Rugby points set to be claimed by the Six Nations’ best-performing individuals, let’s take a look at some of the leading players among the packs.
For some time now, Ireland’s Tadgh Furlong has been one of the leading tighthead props in world rugby and he comes into the 2022 Guinness Six Nations looking better than ever.
Following a year in which he took part in his second British & Irish Lions tour, Furlong was named in World Rugby’s Dream Team of the Year following some stellar performances.
At 29 years old, Furlong looks to be at the peak of his powers, with his strength and dominance in the scrum being complimented by his running power and handling skills in the loose.
A player who has been a standout performer in Guinness Six Nations gone by, Furlong is available for 15 stars, a surprisingly low amount given his range of skills.
France are fancied to challenge for the Championship this year and sure to be at the forefront of that is Cameron Woki, one of many outstanding young players to have broken through with Les Bleus in recent times.
The 23-year-old back rower is one of the French’s Under-20 world champions from 2018 to have successfully made the step up to senior level, with 2021 proving to be breakthrough year.
Woki impressed during France’s series against Australia during the summer while he played a key role in their memorable win against New Zealand during the Autumn Nations Series.
There is sure to be plenty more where that came from, with Woki available for 15 stars and set to further establish himself as one of the best young forwards in the game.
One of the best value-for-money front rowers in this year’s Guinness Six Nations Fantasy Rugby could be Jamie George, who reminded everyone why he’s been such a reliable performer for England.
Initially left out of their squad for the Autumn Nations Series, the hooker returned to the Red Rose’s starting line-up as they recorded victories over Tonga, Australia and South Africa.
The 31-year-old remains a reliable line-out thrower and provides a solid presence at the scrum, while he has retained his habit of popping up with crucial tries on a regular basis.
For that, George represents good value at 14 stars as he provides continuity in what is a new-look England for this year’s Championship.
There arguably isn’t a bigger bargain in this year’s Fantasy Rugby than Ellis Jenkins, who enjoyed a fairy-tale return with Wales during the Autumn Nations Series.
Injuries in the Welsh back row opened the door for him, but it must not be forgotten that Jenkins himself had to endure over two years out of the game with a serious knee injury.
However, it was like the 28-year-old had never been away as he produced a series of impressive performances, and even captained the team in the matches against Fiji and Australia.
2022 Guinness Six Nations Fixtures
Given how Wales often produce their best form in the Six Nations, Jenkins represents amazing value at just 10 stars in what will be his first appearance in the Championship since 2018.
Another player available for surprisingly little is Scotland loosehead prop Rory Sutherland, as he continues to fly under the radar for many.
This is despite the 27-year-old coming into this season off the back of being capped twice by the British & Irish Lions in South Africa last summer, his selection following a series of outstanding displays in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations.
Sutherland’s presence has played a part in the improvement of Scotland’s pack in recent years, with Gregor Townsend’s side now capable of holding their own against the strongest teams in the Championship.
Sutherland can by yours for 12 stars, with the Scots’ clash with England in Edinburgh arguably the most anticipated match in the opening round of fixtures.
The last few years have seen many changes for Italy, as they search for that winning combination, but one of the constants through what has been a turbulent period is lock Marco Fuser.
The 30-year-old is closing in on a decade since his debut with the Azzurri and he is set to be a key player after finally making his return to the international fold last autumn.
His comeback unquestionably strengthens the Italian pack as it has provided them with some extra muscle they have perhaps lacked in recent years and Fuser represents good value at 12 stars.