ESPN’s Six Nations Fantasy Rugby competition screeched to a not-unexpected halt on Friday when Wales vs Scotland was finally called off. The encounter in Cardiff had been the one game left standing, long after the other two scheduled matches of the final weekend, in Paris and Italy, had been postponed.
While the four outstanding matches of the 2020 Six Nations are set to be played later in the year — probably in October — the lords of ESPN Fantasy Rugby have decided to call this year’s Fantasy league now, at the originally scheduled end of the tournament.
Congratulations, then, to the weekly and overall prize-winners of this year’s ESPN’s Fantasy Rugby tournament. Qualified bragging rights are ceremonially bestowed, too, on private league champions — though debates over what might have happened will, no doubt, continue until the games are actually played. And, for those of you whose teams didn’t perform quite as well as you’d hoped, there’s always next year…
There remains one final task before we call time on 2020’s Covid-19-truncated Fantasy Rugby competition — the Team of the Tournament:
25.86 points, 8.3% owned
Well-deserved tries against Ireland and Wales were the least Daly deserved for a string of strong performances in the tournament. There was no one big Six Nations match for the Saracens player, but he scored Fantasy points steadily and regularly.
25.08 points, 56.9% owned
Yes, there was that try-denying fumble against Ireland. And that defensive horror show against England. But there was also that individual wonder score against Italy and a captain’s performance against France. Hogg had a mixed tournament, for sure, but he looks like he’s made for the Scotland captaincy, and he remains a class apart among Six Nations’ fullbacks.
23.84 points, 65.2% owned
Those two individual tries against France in Paris spared the worst of an undercooked England’s blushes, and gave May the bulk of the 23.84 points he scored for his Fantasy Rugby managers. And he offered value all tournament.
27.12 points, 26.5% owned
A debut Six Nations to remember for the young centre. A try in his first outing, off the bench, against Italy, and a display of attacking running in arguably the match of the tournament against France were the highlights of an impressive series of performances.
16.30 points, 21.6% owned
Admit it, before Fantasy Rugby kicked off in early February, you would have expected to see Manu Tuilagi here. Or Garry Ringrose. Or Virimi Vakatawa. But Johnson did the steady solid, unfussy stuff in midfield that scored regular, steady points.
49.72 points, 21.5% owned
Six Nations’ kickers routinely top the Fantasy Rugby points, and this tournament, Biggar waved his arms, yelled at the referee and pre-kick twitched his way to the most points in 2020, ahead of fellow near-perfect 10s Hastings and Ntamack. A pair of tries — against France and England — helped no end.
23.84 points, 56.1% owned
The excitement surrounding the 23-year-old No. 9 continues to shoot up — and no wonder. He was routinely excellent and dangerous in equal measure, in attack and defence. His shuddering fightback-stopping tackle on Willi Heinz probably registered on USGS earthquake monitors.
48.38 points, 33.5% owned
But for a series of career-threatening injuries, Ollivon would have many more caps to his name and would be much better known. As it is, this Six Nations was something of a reintroduction to the rugby world of a player who made his debut in 2014, but disappeared off the radar until the World Cup in Japan.
45.92 points, 56.1% owned
The 2020 Six Nations, as a whole, will not go down as one of the greats of The Greatest Championship, but it was a grand ol’ tournament for backrows, with Ollivon and Tipuric both in the overall top three Fantasy Rugby points scorers, behind Biggar. The Welshman was particularly epic in a losing cause against England at Twickenham.
39.7 points, 39.5% owned
There were flashes of it, but France’s early Six Nations’ success was not based on fabled ‘flair’ as much as ferocious Edwards’ defence and what smelled strongly of genuine team spirit. Alldritt personified that. He was always available in attack, running at defenders like a one-man siege engine, and always a wall in defence.
20.32 points, 9.6% owned
It took the South Africa-born French lock a little time to settle into his international responsibilities, but — after a strong Six Nations — it looks like he’ll be an early name on Fabien Galthie’s teamsheet for as long as he remains fit.
18.14 points, 56.3% owned
Itoje is an absolute menace on the rugby pitch. That is a sentence he would probably take as a complement — as he should. His genius is his ability to somehow get his not-insubstantial frame into all the places opponents really don’t want him to be, and — mostly — remain under the referee’s radar.
16.28 points, 16.8% owned
Front rows tend not to score many Fantasy Rugby points — unless they score tries — which Lewis did against France. That contributed nearly half of his total number of points. Beyond that score, the tighthead did his job without fuss or palavar
15.04 points, 13.5% owned
Fantasy Rugby metrics can sometimes be a little skewed in traditionally low-scoring positions like the front row, as McInally’s place in the team of the tournament rather proves. He didn’t do anything particularly wrong – but other hookers were more consistent, and it took that fortunate try against France to boost his numbers.
11.76 points, 1% owned
A second hooker — ESPN Fantasy Rugby allows for this — in the team of the tournament, and another front row whose numbers were boosted by a touchdown. Cowan-Dickie didn’t start in any of England’s four games, but that score against Ireland was enough to get him a slot here.