Rugby World Cup Fantasy Rugby - Let them cook
After a chaotic opening fantasy week, round two certainly settled the nerves. Bulldozing performances from South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland saw fantasy owners rejoice as the stars of those heavyweight sides delivered with the top ten highest scorers residing from those three nations.
Valiant efforts from Uruguay and Portugal also saw the rise of some hidden gems with Nicolas Martins, Baltazar Amaya and Nicolas Freitas all registering a handsome points tally while Fiji’s historic win over the Wallabies saw some of their powerhouses shine in the fantasy world.
Round three is where we start to see the separation between the fantasy gurus and the casuals as the balance between selecting players from heavyweight matchups and lopsided encounters provides a vast array of fantasy avenues to travel down – every decision is make or break from here on in.
Here is your fantasy guide which delves into each matchup in the third week of the tournament.
Round 3 News
Gameweek three features a mix of blockbuster matchups and one-sided affairs.
The four teams that won’t be a part of round three are Fiji, Japan, New Zealand and Romania meaning players from those countries should not be part of your plans heading into this week.
A reminder that if you haven’t yet used one of the three ‘boosters’ on offer (Triple Captain, Super Kicker and Defensive King), you need to apply one this week.
As the boosters reset after the pool stages, there is no benefit to saving them and with three pool stage rounds remaining, you would be wasting a key advantage if you haven’t yet applied a booster, given only one can be used per round.
And as always, make sure to keep an eye on the starting lineups as they’re released to make sure you’re not leaving out any valuable points.
France vs Namibia
This game could be a fantasy gold mine.
France have recalled the big guns after a rotated side snuck past Uruguay last week with Fabien Galthie looking for a major response from his side.
Namibia have conceded 123 points in their opening two fixtures, the second most of any team in the tournament.
New Zealand were able to run riot against Namibia’s frail defence with five of the backs registering 78 fantasy points or more, including scrum-half Cam Roigard’s triple-digit haul, and there’s no reason why France won’t do the same.
Fullback Thomas Ramos (9.5 Credits) is as close to a must-have as anyone this week given he will be handed the kicking duties whilst Damian Penaud (10.0 Credits) is another that should be in your side given his elite try-scoring record, having crossed the line 20 times in his last 21 international appearances.
20-year-old electric winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey (7.0 Credits) is an excellent value pick and the cheapest of the French starting backline.
Elsewhere, you can’t go wrong with selecting any of the French backs – Antoine Dupont (11.0 Credits), Matthieu Jalibert (13.0 Credits), Jonathan Danty (9.0 Credits) and Gael Fickou (10.0 Credits) should all record a handsome haul of points.
Argentina vs Samoa
Los Pumas are now in win-or-go-home mode.
After a dismal performance against England, Michael Cheika’s side can’t afford any slip-ups and will be itching to get back on track this week.
However, Samoa looked excellent as they cruised past Chile in their opener and will have been targeting this fixture for a long time.
Argentina’s fantasy totals paint a bleak picture of their opening round, with prop Thomas Gallo top scoring for the side with a mere 27 points but expect a bounce back this week.
I expect Argentina to comprehensively right the wrongs of their opening result with their key players stepping up in the process.
Outside back Emiliano Boffelli (7.0 Credits) is my value pick of the week.
Players who aren’t registered as fly-halves but have the kicking duties are almost automatic selections in my eyes, especially when they’re as good as Boffelli who has scored 74 points in his last eight internationals.
This also feels like the perfect game for no.8 Juan Martin Gonzalez (6.5 Credits) to inject himself into given his abilities in both the breakdown and with ball in hand out wide.
For Samoa, Theo McFarland (6.0 Credits) and Fritz Lee (6.0 Credits) will get through a mountain of defensive work and look to attack the breakdown once again as they did against Chile, scoring 40 and 34 fantasy points respectively.
Powerhouse winger Ben Lam is another eye-catching player given he sits at just 5.5 Credits, he has the ability to cause chaos out wide with his size in his international debut.
Georgia vs Portugal
This matchup has the potential to be one of the games of the pool stages.
Despite a poor first-half showing in their opener against Australia, Georgia looked threatening and came to rue a host of blown opportunities that could have spoiled the Wallabies’ party.
Meanwhile, Portugal introduced themselves on the world stage, demonstrating their attacking flair which caused Wales big issues at times.
This game could be the difference between a good fantasy week and an elite one given the value that is on offer.
Portuguese lock Nicolas Martins (3.0 Credits) gained the most points per credit last round, racking up 65 points after making 18 tackles, 44 metres and scoring a try – he provides wonderful value again this week.
Winger Rodrigo Marta (4.0 Credits) was a player I singled out last week, he managed to record 31 points despite not scoring and if he can add to his tally of eight tries in his last seven games this week, he will be on for a 50+ points score.
For Georgia, highly-touted openside flanker Beka Saghinadze (5.0 Credits) makes his first start of the tournament, and playing him opens up lots of different avenues elsewhere given his price. A menace at the breakdown and ferocious with ball in hand, Saghinadze could be one of the best inclusions this round.
England vs Chile
England are set to play with the shackles off this week.
After being criticised for their heavy kicking and territory-based style of play, Steve Borthwick has named a side laced with attacking flair.
Owen Farrell (11.0 Credits) makes his tournament debut after returning from his ban to start at fly-half and will be a popular pick as he takes the kicking duties.
Mercurial playmaker Marcus Smith (10.0 Credits) is set to make his first-ever start at fullback whilst Henry Arundell (7.0 Credits) makes his first appearance of the tournament, those two could rip Chile’s defence apart.
Courtney Lawes (6.5 Credits) has been the best fantasy value player for England, registering 85 points in total and is another solid selection.
For Chile, defensive attributes will be the key.
South Africa vs Ireland
This is undoubtedly the most anticipated game of the round – the number-one ranked side in the world against the reigning champions.
Ireland have won 14 games in a row and piled on 141 points in their two World Cup games whilst South Africa have on nine of their last ten and are the only team in the tournament who haven’t conceded a try.
With two of the best defences in the world, busy forwards will provide the most fantasy rewards as tackles and turnovers will be aplenty in the tight exchanges.
Peter O’Mahony is the cheapest out of the six starting back-rowers at 6.5 credits and with his turnover threat provides great value.
Tadhg Beirne (8.5 Credits) and Caelan Doris (7.5 Credits) are the other two Irish options I would target. Despite being slightly higher value, both will be busy in their defensive efforts, are turnover threats and have a history of stepping up in the big games.
For the Springboks, the 7-1 bench split has been the hot topic of discussion this week.
With nearly a full pack to come on in the second half, South Africa’s starting forwards may not reap the best fantasy rewards given the shortened minutes and expensive prices but Siya Kolisi (7.5 Credits) and Jasper Wiese (6.5 Credits) are ever-reliable points scorers.
Scotland vs Tonga
Scotland were well and truly handcuffed in their opener against South Africa in a game that saw only Jack Dempsey (6.5 Credits) record over 30 fantasy points.
However, I’m expecting Scotland to bounce back and showcase their attacking threat.
Halfback duo Ben White (7.0 Credits) and Finn Russell (13.0 Credits) are two excellent choices this week. The Scots will be desperate to make up for their attacking woes against South Africa and will rely heavily on White and Russell to pull the strings and challenge an unproven Tongan defence.
Huw Jones (7.0 Credits) and Duhan Van Der Merwe (9.5 Credits) are another pair that I see benefitting the most from this matchup as Gregor Townsend’s side look to flex their attacking muscles.
Tonga were blitzed by Ireland in their opener as they conceded 59 points and the result provided us with an insight into where the fantasy value lies when they play tier-one nations.
Four out of five of Tonga’s highest-scoring players last round were forwards, including prop pairing Ben Tameifuna (4.5 Credits) and Siegried Fisi’ihoi (3.5 Credits).
Wales vs Australia
Whatever the outcome of this game is, it will throw Pool C into complete chaos.
After Fiji’s historic win over Australia last week, this is a win-or-go-home situation for Eddie Jones’ men.
Welsh captain Jac Morgan (6.5 Credits) is my best pick for this game, and a perfect player to use the defensive king booster on this week.
The Welsh captain has recorded 27 tackles and three turnovers in the opening two games and given Australia’s inability to prevent the likes of Levani Botia and company winning turnovers last week, Morgan should have a field day.
Will Rowlands (5.5 Credits) is another player who will benefit from the close-range encounters expected in this game after he racked up a ridiculous 27 tackles and 48 fantasy points in his start against Fiji.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 21, 2023
Lightning quick winger Louis Rees-Zammit (8.0 Credits) has been Wales’ best fantast performer so far, registering 94 points in the tournament and scoring in both games and will be a primary threat to Australia’s defence.
On the flip side, Wallabies winger Mark Nawaqanitawase (7.0 Credits) will look to cause more carnage after picking up 92 points in his opening two games.
Prop Angus Bell (4.5 Credits) and loose forward Rob Valetini (6.5 Credits) are two other safe choices this week as both will be heavily relied upon in the physical exchanges and should play extended minutes.
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