There are just two rounds to go in the Fantasy Rugby Six Nations game on Scrum, and Tom Walker, one of our writers here at The Rugby Blog, is currently 3rd in the whole game, and we want to see him lift the trophy – a bit of tinkering is in order before the weekend.
The French team seems the most obvious place to start, with their fixture at home to Italy the most clear cut in terms of which side will win – it’s worth putting the maximum four French players in the side to benefit from the ‘winning team’ points.
No team has yet been able to cut loose against the Italians, so it may not be a try-fest, but I’d still want some French backs in my team. Mathieu Bastereaud has been demoted to the bench for this weekend’s game, so we need to look elsewhere – his replacement David Marty could be a good option with a point to prove after all the over-rated hype about Bastereaud. His centre partner Yanick Jauzion has also been looking promising, and is a favourite with the BBC commentators who usually go for an obvious Man of the Match.
Clement Poitrenaud is also worth a look, and he’s been in great form at full-back looking to run the ball back more often than kicking. If Italy continue with their tactics of kicking deep, Poitrenaud may be able to counter-attack and score some valuable points for your Dream Team.
I’d also pick Morgan Parra as the kicker, just in case France do run up a big score and he’s knocking over conversions all afternoon; and Imanol Harinordoquy is another player in fine form and he’s usually a good candidate for the MoM award as well.
I’ve got a feeling that Scotland v England will be a low-scoring affair, so I’d look at the Ireland v Wales game for more players that could earn you try-scoring points – particularly if Wales remember to play for 80 minutes and it turns into an exciting exhibition of running rugby.
Jonny Sexton is worth considering as your fly-half – he should be better at home than he was at Twickenham, and offers another choice for kicker if you pick Parra. Tommy Bowe has been in try-scoring form, whilst Brian O’Driscoll is another MoM magnet, and a sentimental award on his 100th cap is certainly not out of the question. I would also pick one of the Irish back row, which is one of Ireland’s key strengths – Stephen Ferris or Jamie Heaslip appear to be the best options, since David Wallace has been suffering from a slight dip in form lately.
For Wales, Shane Williams is hard to ignore, although Leigh Halfpenny has also been scoring tries on the other wing – it’s a 50/50 call as to which one you go for, but one of the two is essential. Depending on your other selections from France and Ireland, James Hook could be a good option in the centres, and I’ve got a feeling he and Jamie Roberts will be determined to prove a few people wrong.
Once you’ve filled your quota from these three teams, I’d then fill up the remaining places with English and Scottish players. Dan Cole, James Haskell, Euan Murray, Johnnie Beattie and John Barclay are potential MoM candidates in what will probably be a forward dominated game, but I wouldn’t expect big Fantasy returns from this one.
Let us know what changes you might be making this week, and let’s see if we can help Tom claim the top prize!