After one week of games, our fantasy table already has an interesting look to it. Joshua Taylor’s Tigers XV sit top of the leader-board with 100 points, the top ten tucked in behind him all scoring 90 points or more. Those who forgot to transfer out players not starting find themselves, predictably, near the foot of the tree. So who were the big points scorers, and who might be worth a transfer in before round two?
After saying that tries from the front row were rare, there were three try scorers from this very area in round 1. Such is the nature of fantasy rugby. Cian Healy and Castro were popular choices and would have scored plenty of people points; Craig Mitchell less so.
I would maintain that it is still pointless picking front row forwards on their try scoring ability, as it is more about them being in the right place at the right time. If they can last the full 80 minutes then great, but only four did so in round one (Murray and Grant of Scotland, Best of Ireland and Ghiraldini of Italy). They may well be worth subbing in ahead of the second round. Always remember to check your calendar if you have Murray, though, as he won’t play on Sundays.
Just one try came from the second row in the opening round, those with the line-out maestro Geoff Parling in their team reaping the rewards. As there are only two of them with one replacement on the bench, it is always a bit of a lottery as to which lock will play the whole game.
Looking at the second round, the giant Frenchman Romain Taofifenua could be in line for his first start after the injury to captain Papé. He is one of the biggest men in world rugby, and could be worth a (slightly risky) punt if you fancy him to get over the line. He didn’t seem particularly effective in the 35 mins he had at the weekend, though, but then none of the French did really.
Bizarrely there were less tries scored by back row than front row forwards last weekend, the only two coming from Parisse and Picamoles. Two of the most popular picks in round one, you will be feeling foolish if you left them out now. With the Italians playing a Scotland team who looked terribly disorganised last weekend Parisse is certainly worth having in your team. He has a healthy knack of getting MOTM, too.
At scrum-half the English duo topped the stats chart, Ben Youngs’ two assists garnering eight points while Danny Care’s try scored him six. There wasn’t much to shout about elsewhere, with Conor Murray’s three points for playing a full game blighted by his yellow card in the second half.
The big winners at fly-half were anyone who took an outrageous punt on Orquera against the French. Farrell, with his metronomic boot, was another big scorer, claiming the MOTM award too. Johnny Sexton, a favourite of many, scored a measly nine points and most people will be hoping he can do better next week.
O’Driscoll was head and shoulders above the rest in terms of points scored, a try, an assist and an MOTM award garnering him an amazing 16 points. Twelvetrees, Roberts and Fritz were all rewarded for tries or assists, but none were anywhere near O’Driscoll’s level.
With the French looking to shake things up for this weekend’s Wales game, someone like Bastareaud might be worth a selection, although it is definitely best to wait until team announcements so you don’t waste a transfer.
As always, these are the positions with the most points-scoring potential. Debutant Sean Maitland tops the stats with a try and an assist to his name, while Ashton, Fall, Halfpenny, Zebo, Cuthbert and Hogg all scored decent points after crossing the whitewash.
Next week is anyone’s guess in this area. The French have great potential, but you just never know who is going to start. Surely Fofana has to be shifted into the centres, as he could have made a difference for them on Sunday but found himself isolated on the wing.
The runaway leaders in our SuperBru pool are, unsurprisingly, the only three people who bravely predicted an Italy win. Michael Smith (southonmick) has the yellow cap after round one, after correctly predicting Ireland by 5, being one out with his prediction of Italy by 4 and going for England by 14.
Next week is as difficult as this one to predict, so be sure to look out for our predictions later in the week. Seeing as none of us are anywhere near the top of the leader-board, however, be sure to ignore them also.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43