This year’s Rugby World Cup brings with it a fantastic game designed to push rugby fandom to a new frontier.
Since the launch of the official Fantasy game before the start of the tournament, there have been over 100,000 registrations. While this is dwarfed by the masses involved in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL), other comparisons are more encouraging. At the height of its popularity, it was estimated that ESPN’s Six Nations game attracted between 100,000 and 200,000 unique users per round.
Here’s how it works and how to beat your friends.
How to select players
The official tournament game gives you a budget of 100 credits to build a team of 15 including two props, a hooker, two locks, three back rowers, a scrum half, a fly half, two centers and three outside backs .
Players were awarded different prizes, with Finn Russell, Johnny Sexton, Richie Mo’unga and Matthieu Jalibert being the most expensive with 13 credits each. A designated captain counts as double in a given round and there are three “boosters”, including “super kicker” and “defensive king”. Transfers are unlimited, probably to alleviate schedules and injuries.
How to score points
The fantasy game scoring system uses metrics like tackles, yards covered, interceptions, lineout steals, offloads and even assists — essentially passes that send a teammate into space. Missed tackles, penalties and knock-ons are just three ways to lose points.
Stats Perform is the data provider, and deeper details feed into the main reason to play fantasy in the first place: justification. What could be better, or smug, than tangible proof of your superior knowledge when your hunches are backed up by on-field performance, especially if you feel you’ve unearthed a relatively obscure or untapped talent?
While the simplicity of the FPL scoring system suits football and has contributed to its immense growth, a detailed points system for the Rugby World Cup match is also expected to improve understanding and awareness. Not only will the big names be recognized for their skills that go unnoticed – Gregory Alldritt (7.5 credits) is a top target as well as a relentless jack hauler and hunter, for example – but observers will also be encouraged to become familiar with emerging countries and monitor these players.
Join the Telegraph Rugby fantasy league
For anyone wanting to upstage the Telegraph writers – and judging by the comments on our recent Top 100 series, that might be an interesting proposition – we’ve created a World Cup league with the access code E3XYNW6O.
Save your knowledge…
…because it’s more satisfying when it’s happening. I was doubly pleased with Cameron Roigard’s 100 points (7 credits) against Namibia, as I was aware of the New Zealand rookie’s prolific form for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby earlier this year. Leicester Fainga’anuku (7 credits, 91 points), on his way to Toulon after his appearance at the Crusaders, is renowned for roaming down his wing and chasing touches, which have proven useful.
Beware of job changes
Two of South Africa’s scrum-halves, Cobus Reinach (8.5 credits) and Grant Williams (7.5 credits), scored 89 points each against Romania. Williams started on the wing, which will have benefited many. Another Springbok star, Canan Moodie (7.5 credits) is classified as a wing. However, he was at outside center against Romania, which compromised his 25-point return. Special congratulations to those who selected Nicolas Martins from Portugal (3 credits). He started last but is classified as a lock. The Os Lobos try scorer was also important as a lineout jumper on both sides of the ball and finished with 65 points, 25 more than any other lock in round two.
Stay vigilant midweek
Matches on Wednesday (Italy v Uruguay), Thursday (France v Namibia) and Friday (Argentina v Samoa) provide us with a treat of encounters ahead of the weekend. Don’t let yourself be surprised. The Wednesday and Friday matches kick off at 4:45 p.m. BST.
Know your kickers
Just like penalty takers are valuable in FPL, place kickers can rack up points in this World Cup match. You don’t have to have just one designated kicker, so French full-back Thomas Ramos (9.5 credits) and Portuguese scrumhalf Samuel Marquès (4.5 credits) could complete your flyhalf.
Versatile players can accumulate points
This is another lesson that translates into the game of football. In FPL, defenders’ goals are worth more than midfielders’ goals and midfielders’ goals are worth more than attackers’ goals. With this in mind, players picked out of position – those classified as defenders but operating in midfield or midfielders pushed forward – often earn you unexpected points.
Ben Donaldson (8.5 credits), a flyhalf moved to full-back by Eddie Jones and given Australia’s goalkicking duties ahead of Carter Gordon (9 credits, 25 points), returned a huge 85 against Georgia in the first round. Only Bundee Aki (9.5 credits, 113 points) and Mark Telea (6.5 credits, 90 points) beat Donaldson.
Second, versatile players can be moved around the pitch, often making them more likely to last the full 80 minutes. Tadhg Beirne (8.5 credits, 52 points) scored Ireland’s 12th and final try against Romania, and his second of the match, to reach the half-century mark.
For the first round, I pulled Kazuki Himeno (5 credits) after hearing about his injury and brought in Jack Cornleson (4 credits), who is classified as a discount lock. Cornelson started at number 8. Although he didn’t do much carrying, his work on defense and in the lineout earned him 37 points.
Keep the courage of your convictions
Discipline, discipline, discipline. The ability to swap players during a round, provided they have not yet entered the field, mitigates late injury withdrawals. That said, there is also a temptation to do nothing. During the first weekend, I overthought and changed things late, only to end up with Ryan Elias (6 credits, 20 points) instead of Rob Herring (8 credits, 23 points).
Another change benefited me, with Garry Ringrose (9 credits, 56 points) edging out Waisea Nayacalevu (7 credits, 38 points), but the choice of Keith Earls (7 credits, 12 points) and Caelan Doris (7.5 credits, 20 points) was not as good. successful. I thought Earls would be most likely to stay for the entire Romania game, but fellow outside backs James Lowe (9 credits, 58 points), Hugo Keenan (8 credits, 62 points) and even replacement Mack Hansen ( 8 credits, 58 points). 42 points) all dominated him. Likewise, Doris was overshadowed by Peter O’Mahony (6.5 credits, 51 points) and bench man Josh van der Flier (7.5 credits, 24 points).
Master key to tackle breakers and turnover
In addition to tries (15 points) and assists (9 points), turnovers (4 points), interceptions (5 points), lineout interceptions (5 points) and line breaks (7 points) are big winners. Beaten defenders (2 points) can also count, especially with players like Duhan van der Merwe (9.5 credits) and Mark Telea (6.5 credits). As for the disruptors, Tadhg Beirne (8.5 credits) and Malcolm Marx (10 credits) are in the elite bracket with the Fijian pair of Sam Matavesi (7 credits) and Levani Botia (6 credits) from the cheaper options.
Georgian accessories are bound to be recruited en masse. There is value to be found in Lelos’ backline, however. Merab Sharikadze, their center and skipper, racks up a dizzying number of tackles. Davit Niniashvili, a wiry, evasive runner who beat five defenders and broke three times against Scotland last month, is also good for the occasional turnover.
Both men will cost you seven credits and will likely be on the field for most of the group stage as Georgia attempt to escape Pool C. Sharikadze made 23 tackles at Murrayfield. He could be a nifty “defensive king” – a booster who doubles points for tackles, turnovers and interceptions – as the Lelos tend to absorb pressure against more established teams.
Stay on top of your selections
An obvious one, but team announcements will arrive quickly and en masse. Unlimited transfers mean you should really have 15 players actually playing. Be careful, some, like England hooker Jamie George (10 credits) and most captains, are more likely to last closer to 80 minutes.
Be bold with boosters
In addition to the “captain” token, which doubles a chosen player’s points, there are three other boosters in this game. The “triple captain” does the obvious, the “defensive king” doubles the points for tackles and turnovers and the “super kicker” increases the return of shots on goal. You can use them once each during the group stages before they regenerate for the knockout rounds. Let them rip, because they are of no use if they stay.
Browse the meeting list
Player actions count the same in a tense semi-final as they do in lopsided group matches. While we expect an exciting tournament with some twists and turns, some scores are going to explode.
Why Fantasy Rugby really matters