Fantasy Rugby: Gameweek 2 Review
Another exciting round of the Gallagher Prem has reached its conclusion, with a feast of rugby delivering some top fantasy performances. Our review of the weekend runs through the stand out performers, key players and biggest price risers.
Gameweek 2 has delivered some high scoring games, some brilliant individual performances and some fantastic fantasy returns; what a weekend of rugby.
As time is moving forward we are also seeing some good rises in players' prices, so keep your eyes peeled before those bargains disappear.
Northampton and Harlequins kicked off the gameweek on Friday evening with a fascinating encounter that saw the Saints come out as winners with a scoreline of 25-18. Key players for Saints in the fixture were Courtney Lawes (39pts), David Ribbans (39) and Dan Biggar (31). Quins on the other hand didn't manage to match their opponents with their fantasy scores; Marcus Smith their stand out player (28pts) is joined by Danny Care (26) and Elia Elia (24).
The first game of Saturday afternoon came from the Ricoh, where a Wasps side bolstered by the additions of their Southern Hemisphere summer signings went up against an Exeter side hot off a strong win against Leicester. A keen tactical battle ensued, and the result was some excellent play out wide from Exeter that saw two of their backs finish the game as top points scorers; Santiago Cordero (49pts) and Henry Slade (43) had fine games. Rounding out Exeter's top three is the most selected player on the game, Don Armand (42pts). For Wasps, Elliot Daly and Dan Robson were the key men, amassing 40 points. Nathan Hughes following behind on 31.
The disappointing defeat to Exeter in their opening round of the competition meant Leicester's coach Matt O'Connor's position was unsustainable. They went into their fixture against Newcastle at Welford Road with Geordan Murphy at the helm, and produced an excellent display, finishing the game as winners by 49 points to 33. George Ford was the stand out performer in this fixture (70pts), and he was joined by Adam Thompstone (45) and Jonny May (44) from the men in green. There are still plenty of positives for Newcastle too, despite opening loses. They look well set for the campaign, and further strong performances from Vereniki Goneva (49pts) and Mark Wilson (39) highlight the quality that resides in an often overlooked squad.
Saracens hosted a newly-promoted Bristol side at Allianz Park, who came buoyantly into the fixture from their opening day victory against Bath. Showing the same level of grit and determination, they pushed Saracens hard through the opening half, going into break with a tight lead. It's hard to say whether George Smith's red card was indeed the turning point in the game given Saracens' propensity for winning through, but it certainly handed some advantage to the hosts who finished the game as winners by 44 points to 23. Stand out players in the game were Liam Williams (49pts), Mako Vunipola (38), and Alapati Leiua (36).
The West-Country derby between Bath and Gloucester provided an enthralling game of rugby, with the final result a high scoring draw at 31 points apiece. More magic from Danny Cipriani led the charge of the Cherry & Whites, but on balance, a draw was a fair result for the fixture. Ruan Ackermann stood out as the key performer (53pts), though he was pushed close by Tom Dunn (51). Callum Braley (42) and Ed Slater (38) were the pick of the Gloucester players alongside Ackermann, and for Bath, Max Green (36) and Semesa Rokoduguni (30) played well.
The final fixture of the weekend saw Sale Sharks welcome Worcester to the AJ Bell Stadium, and despite dominating possession and territory, Worcester fell to a 21-15 defeat. The fantasy points however, are dominated by Sale players, who sit in the top eight places. Key amongst those are Josh Beaumont (48pts), AJ MacGinty (37), and Bryn Evans (37). Darren Barry and Bryce Heem were the standout fantasy players for Worcester (30pts), and close behind them was Sam Lewis (29) and Chris Pennell (25).
Appearing to have lost his shackles and guiding his team to a convincing victory after their opening day defeat, George Ford is our stand out player of the week with 70 points. Congratulations to those who also picked him as their captain; 140 points is some haul for one player.
While their fixture at the weekend was a draw, it is Gloucester who top the fantasy points performance for the weekend, with 503 points. Sale were close behind with 476, followed by Leicester on 451. At the other end of the scale were Harlequins who mustered 282 points.
Key Value Player
The key player from the weekend who costs under £200k was Callum Braley (£112k), who picked up 42 fantasy points in his game against Bath at The Rec. Close behind him was Saints' David Ribbans (£158k) who continues to deliver some high scoring performances.
Top Value Risers
With prices on their way up, and player performance having an ever more increasing influence on their respective value, it is no surprise to see some of this weekend's top performers' values up on last gameweek; Don Armand (+1.9%), Sam Simmonds (+1.7%) and Greg Bateman (+1.4%).