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Rugby World Cup Fantasy Rugby – Who are you picking?

France's scrum-half Antoine Dupont warms up ahead of the pre-World Cup rugby union international Test match between France and Australia at Stade de France in Saint Denis, on the outskirts of Paris on August 27, 2023. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

The official Rugby World Cup Fantasy game is here: In just over a week, France and New Zealand will square off in front of a fully packed Stade de France on September 8 to commence the most highly anticipated Rugby World Cup of all time.

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With the international stage having never been as competitive as it is now, fireworks are guaranteed and on top of that is the arrival of fantasy rugby.

Fantasy rugby is the vehicle that connects statistics and data with fans in the rugby world and World Rugby’s official Rugby World Cup Fantasy game offers something for everyone; whether you are a complete fanatic or just getting to grips with the sport.

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Across the seven weeks, you will have the chance to flex your knowledge and compete against friends, family and other rugby fans for the ultimate bragging rights.

How does it work?
Each fantasy squad contains 15 players who will earn points based on their actual match performances throughout the duration of the World Cup.

Rugby World Cup fantasy

Every player will be assigned a value before the tournament begins and you will then have 100 credits to build an XV consisting of two props, one hooker, two locks, three loose forwards, one scrum-half, one fly-half, two centres and three outside backs.

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The budget means you will have to be shrewd in your selection process, being cautious of where to scatter the superstars and which positions to deploy the hidden gems in.

Up to three players can be selected from each nation during the pool stages before increasing as the tournament progresses through the knockout stages but with unlimited transfers, you will have the chance to chop and change players based on the difficulty of their matchups.

How do I score points?
For this version of fantasy rugby, points will solely be awarded for players’ efforts determined by their individual statistics with no ‘team’ points involved based on the result of the game.

The biggest takeaway from the point-scoring system is that try involvements will reap the richest reward with 15 points awarded to a player for a try and nine points for a try assist.

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Alongside the obvious try-scoring benefits, hot steppers and tackle busters can spark more life into a fantasy side with each linebreak worth seven points and linebreak assists providing five points to players.

Goalkicking will also play a crucial role throughout the tournament with the point-scoring system acting as a double-edged sword as each successful penalty goal and conversion will earn players three and two points respectively but for each miss, one point will be deducted.

The second rowers and loose forwards’ time to shine will come at the breakdown and set piece with four points awarded to players for each turnover forced and five points awarded for each lineout steal on an opponent’s throw.

Ireland player ratings
Ireland’s Mack Hansen (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

With all the glitz and glamour of linebreaks and try involvements, there is still room for unsung heroes in a winning fantasy side with one point gained for every tackle made and for every 10 metres gained alongside two points for each offload.

For those front rowers who might not bask in try involvement and linebreak points, the chance to earn their fantasy stripes will come at scrum time as three points will be awarded to the entire front row for each scrum won outright.

Boosters
Another element that fantasy owners will have to contend with is the three available boosters – Triple Captain, Super Kicker and Defensive King.

Each of these can be used once during the pool stage and then again for the knockout stages giving the opportunity to play with boosters six times throughout the tournament.

Triple captain is simply what it says on the tin, for one week your designated captain will earn triple points for that game week.

Meanwhile, the Super Kicker booster will earn an assigned player double points for each successful conversion, penalty and drop goal but you will need to be aware that this will also double negative scores for missed kicks.

RWC 2023 Fantasy Hamilton XV
The Fantasy 2023 team selected by Jim Hamilton

The Defensive King acts in a similar fashion as double points will be awarded for every turnover forced, interception and tackle made but will provide a double negative for each tackle missed.

Superstar selections
Now we get into the meat and bones of the fantasy operation, the superstar choices that will make or break your fantasy set-up. Here are three players that should be a mainstay in your side throughout the tournament:

Antoine Dupont
World player of the year in 2021, three-time Six Nations player of the championship and the captain of France, Dupont is undoubtedly the hottest fantasy prospect heading into the World Cup.

The scrum-half’s ability to create gaps in a defence that shouldn’t exist and inject himself into the game at the perfect time is why he is a fantasy owner’s dream.

Dupont was the joint leading try-assist leader, recorded the third most offloads and was one of the highest fantasy scorers in the 2023 Six Nations, we should expect more of the same from the little maestro.

Fantasy Rugby Antoine Dupont
The hopes of a nation rest on Antoine Dupont’s broad shoulders (Photo by Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

Will Jordan
Jordan boasts one of the most impressive strike rates in world rugby with 23 tries in just 26 international appearances. The combination of his special finishing abilities and awareness to be in the perfect place to pounce on opportunities makes him a unique talent and one of the best wingers in the world.

If the All Blacks attack can fire on all cylinders, Jordan is going to be one of the biggest fantasy assets in the tournament.

Rugby World Cup fantasy rugby
New Zealand’s Will Jordan (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Caelan Doris
Doris has become one of the premier back-rowers in the world amongst an Irish team ranked as the No1 side in the world heading into the tournament.

The No8’s dominant 2023 Six Nations campaign saw him win the joint-most turnovers in the competition, gain the fourth-most carries by a forward and place amongst the top five in most metres made by a forward.

If he can repeat something similar during the World Cup, he will be many a fantasy team’s linchpin selection.

Hidden Gems:
The international landscape has never been more competitive behind the surge of improvement from tier-two nations and in the fantasy world that can only mean one thing, more opportunities to discover hidden gems.

Davit Niniashvili
Georgia’s 21-year-old superstar full-back has burst onto the international scene, making his debut in 2020 and inspiring Georgia to some historic victories, including a win over Wales in Cardiff last year.

Spearheading the Georgian attack, Niniashvili’s ability to beat defenders and burst defences wide open with his wicked footwork makes him one of the fantasy dark horses heading into this World Cup.

Davit Niniashvili scores for Georgia (Photo by Levan Verdzeuli/Getty Images)

Waisea Nayacalevu
Fiji boast a vast array of attacking weapons in their arsenal, including the likes of Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova, but captain Nayacalevu may be the most profitable fantasy selection out of a stacked backline.

With enormous attention placed upon Fiji’s biggest ball carriers, Nayacalevu’s elusiveness and guile with ball in hand flies under the radar.

The Fijian captain is certainly one fantasy prospect to keep an eye on if the price is right given his attacking intelligence and try-scoring threat.

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Comments

3 Comments
S
Sumkunn Tsadmiova 320 days ago

Scott Barrett, that big old French unit Antonio, Tomas Lavanini and then the rest all English. Must win the fantasy red card league...

J
Jérémie 320 days ago

So : props : Dupont ; hooker : Dupont ; locks : Dupont... 🙃

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Jon 3 hours ago
How Maro Itoje terrorised the All Blacks lineout

Yeah England were much smarter, they put their much vaster experience to use in both the scrum (bending/not taking hit) and lineout (Itoje early sacks) law vagaries. Really though, I know what is there, I’m more worried about Englands locks. We only got to see Itoje and Martin, right? Depth allround in the England camp was probably the difference in the series and the drop off when Itoje reached his minutes limit for the season (it was like the plug was pulled from the charger) was up there with keeping Sexton on the park in that quarter final. What happened there? You have a lot of watching hours experience with locks come blindsides Nick, especially with a typical Australian player make up, have you see a six the size of Barrett absolutely dominate the position and his opposition? I can easily see Scott, and even Martin for that matter, moving to the blindside and playing like Tadgh Beirne with the amount of top locks we have coming through to partner Patrick. Still with the English mindset, because despite running the best All Black team I’ve seen in a long time close, they do need to find improvement, and although I thought they had a lot of good performances from their 7’s (over the years), I really like the prospect of Cunningham-South in his 8 spot and Earl on the open. Can you see Martin as mobile enough to take over Lawes? I absolutely loved his aggression when Jordie ran upto him to try and grab the ball. That alone is enough reason for me to try him there.

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FEATURE Mick Cleary: 'There is now a clear sense of identity about this England team.' Mick Cleary: 'There is now a clear sense of identity about this England team.'
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