My Six Nations Fantasy XV - Andy Goode
The hype is building and the opening weekend of the Six Nations is almost here, so it’s time to pick your fantasy team for the tournament.
I’ve picked the 15 players I think will star over the course of the next six weeks and it’ll be tough to beat this side but sign up here if you think you’ve got what it takes to beat me and join the Rugby Pod League for your chance to win tickets to one of our live podcasts.
There’s an even split of five players apiece from the two teams I’m convinced will be battling it out for the title at Twickenham on March 17, England and Ireland, but a couple of Frenchmen, a pair of Scots and a Welshman make the cut as well.
Let me know what you think and how your team compares…
15 Stuart Hogg
I know he’s been injured but he destroyed Exeter on his comeback in the final round of pool matches in the Champions Cup and is head and shoulders above any other full back in Europe at the moment.
14 Virimi Vakatawa
He’s an absolute monster with ball in hand and runs over people for fun, which creates a lot of space for others as well as making him a decent bet to be among the tries himself.
13 Huw Jones
He’s broken into the Scotland team in the past 18 months and taken to international rugby like a duck to water. He’s scored five tries in his last five Tests and is in great form and playing in a backline that will play with adventure and create a lot of opportunities. I think he’ll see a lot of ball and be making line breaks for fun.
12 Owen Farrell
It’s impossible to leave Farrell out of your team. Whoever he plays for and in whatever position he plays, he dominates the game and controls proceedings. A total of 304 points in 24 Six Nations matches means he’s averaging 13 points per game in the tournament, which isn’t bad going, and he’s about as reliable a points accumulator as you can get.
11 Anthony Watson
He might play full back if Mike Brown is absent but the combination of out and out pace and lethal footwork mean he’s a threat from anywhere and I expect him to cross the whitewash a few times and add to the six tries he’s already scored in the Six Nations in the past few years.
10 Johnny Sexton
Ireland have a number of top quality players but Sexton remains the key man for them and if he can stay fit, they will be a real force to be reckoned with and will feel that they can wrestle the title back from England for the first time since 2015.
9 Conor Murray
You can certainly make a case for him being the best scrum half in the world and his axis with Johnny Sexton is great to watch. They understand each other’s games perfectly and complement each other well. Expect him to be at the heart of most of Ireland’s good attacking play in this tournament.
1 Mako Vunipola
He’s struggled in the scrum of late and acknowledged as much in the media in the build-up to the Six Nations but there isn’t a better ball-carrying loosehead around at present and England are very lucky to have him, especially with those behind him in the pecking order dropping like flies!
2 Ken Owens
He’s really improved his game in the past couple of years and in a Wales forward pack that needs to stand up and be counted, I think he’ll step up and be a real leader for them in both the loose and the tight.
3 Rabah Slimani
I think he’s the best scrummaging tighthead in world rugby and packs some serious power. He’s a key player for France and showed with his try against England last year that he can get you a five-pointer every now and then as well.
4 Courtney Lawes
He is capable of absolutely destroying teams defensively in terms of the hits he puts in and the impact they have on the game. He might also play in the back row in this Six Nations, which means he’ll have an ever bigger impact around the field, and I’m excited to see how he goes.
5 Iain Henderson
He’s scored three tries in his last seven Tests for Ireland after just two in his first 27 and is playing a more and more prominent role for them. He’ll have been disappointed not to have featured in the Tests for the Lions in the summer but only turns 26 during this Six Nations and is maturing into a fantastic player whether he’s picked in the second row or back row.
6 Peter O’Mahony
He’s a real warrior for Ireland and does a lot of the dogged work that lays the platform for others to excel, as well as being up there with the best lineout operators in the world.
7 Sam Simmonds
I think he’ll be playing number eight for England but he can play all across the back row and his pace and ball-carrying ability would be an asset to any team. I think he’ll be the breakthrough player of this tournament in the absence of Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes and I’m picking him at openside to accommodate another big ball carrier at number eight.
8 CJ Stander
The Munster man is simply monstrous. He always wants to get his hands on the ball and makes yard after yard. He had 104 carries in last year’s tournament, which was 33 more than anyone else managed, and I expect him to have just as big a campaign this time around.
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