ESPN Fantasy Rugby: France, Ireland dominate team of Week 3

Romain Ntamack scored France's opening try and made 20 tackles against Scotland to rack up 11 Fantasy Rugby points -- but he wasn't France's top-scorer on Saturday. Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

What a difference a fortnight can make. France only had one representative in the ESPN Fantasy Rugby team of the week 14 days ago, but after that bonus-point win over an injury-hit and generally poor Scotland on Saturday, they have four in this week's select XV.

Ireland, too, despite a lacklustre win over an impressive Italy, supply four players; while, despite what happened at the Principality, three England players make the cut, compared to Wales's two -- proof, if it were needed, that the whole often outweighs the sum of its parts. Unlucky Italy and unimpressive Scotland supply one each.

Interesting, too, to see that a number of players who have missed many a Fantasy Rugby manager's cut have stepped up. One big-scorer in this team of the week is in nobody's Fantasy XV...

Anyway, here are the players who scored the most Fantasy Rugby points this week.

Outside Backs

Keith Earls

10 points, 9.8% owned

One try, in which he stepped past two defenders to get to the line, and very nearly a second tells only part of the story. Earls did as Earls always does -- and did it as well as he often does. When he gets the space he needs, which is never very much, he's deadly.

Liam Williams

8 points, 33% owned

A man-of-the-match performance at the Principality that really deserved more Fantasy Rugby points than the mere eight it garnered -- perhaps we should add an 'artistic impression' score next time. Williams was, beyond doubt, Wales's best back: dangerous with ball in hand and an absolute rock in defence. A delight to watch.

Jacob Stockdale

8 points, 67.9% owned

Stockdale's doing what he did last year. After a quiet opener against England, the Ulster winger is starting to push on the accelerator, despite not getting very far this weekend. Another try in Rome -- taking his total to 14 in 17 Ireland outings -- on a day in which he worked hard but just couldn't get going. Ireland's two remaining opponents, France and Wales, probably should watch out.


Luca Morisi

10 points, 0.1% owned

On a relatively quiet week for midfield players, the Benetton inside centre owes half his points to a powerful push to the line for the impressive Azzurri's second try. He did a decent amount of defensive work, too, with 15-plus tackles to his name.

Owen Farrell

7 points, 71.5% owned

It wasn't a Farrell performance for the ages in Cardiff. He started slowly and got better -- but, by the time he reached full Owen, it was too late. Probably worth holding on to him now, though, if you picked him first up. He's got 32 Fantasy Rugby points so far, with home matches against Italy and Scotland to come.


Romain Ntamack

11 points, 3.1% owned

Ntamack is a No. 10 by training and disposition -- but had played in that position just three times this season before Saturday, and had last formed a halfback partnership with club teammate Antoine Dupont back in January 2018. Not that it showed. Both impressed, with Ntamack, in particular, controlling the game well -- popping up at the end of a raking move to score the game's opening youth-generated try.


Conor Murray

15 points, 31.9% owned

Like Farrell, another player not at his best. The Munster No. 9 makes a second appearance in ESPN's Fantasy Rugby team of the week, despite a generally off-colour performance in Rome. But, if you score a try and kick a couple of conversions when things aren't going your way, you know that you're are operating under some very high expectations, indeed.

Front Row

Allan Dell

5 points, 12.8% owned

Another big defensive shift from the Scotland loosehead meant he brought home another five Fantasy Rugby points, bringing his overall total in three matches to date to 15 -- though his struggles in the scrum against Bamba will not have gone unnoticed. Still, those are impressive numbers from a position that doesn't often score that many in these sort of games.

Jamie George

6 points, 16.6% owned

With Dylan Hartley now out of the entire Six Nations due to knee surgery, the Saracens man is Eddie Jones' top choice at hooker. And he's doing pretty well having finally got his chance at a run. He made an important turnover in the first half and 22 tackles in total. Now has 14 points from three matches -- only Dell, Cian Healy and the remarkable and the much-missed Mako Vunipola have scored more front-row Fantasy Rugby points.

Demba Bamba

8 points, 1.8% owned

Prior to this game, more than a few naysayers and doom-mongers were openly wondering why France needed to look to the second-tier for a tighthead prop. Bamba is why. On loan with Brive from Lyon for much-needed game time, he is an elemental force in ProD2 clothing, and very much a rising star. Two other impressive players from Saturday -- Felix Lambey and Thomas Ramos -- also owe much to a ProD2 education.

Second Row

Cory Hill

11 points, 3.9% owned

That try. After 34 phases. That's what will be remembered of Cory Hill's performance on Saturday in the years ahead. And rightly so. It also bagged him eight of the 11 Fantasy Rugby points he scored. But his work alongside the indefatigable Alun Wyn Jones means he's got to be an early name on Warren Gatland's teamsheet. He really should be in the mix every game for Fantasy Rugby managers, too.

Quinn Roux

10 points, 0.2% owned

Not the biggest banker lineout option you'll ever see, but Roux worked himself into the ground at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday. And his try did his Fantasy Rugby stats no harm in his first Six Nations outing of the year.

Back Row

Gregory Alldritt

18 points, 0% owned

Alldritt was somewhat of a surprise call-up to the France squad before the tournament started -- and he had scarcely troubled the Fantasy Rugby scorers in two replacement appearances before Saturday's remarkable 11 minutes. He touched down two tries -- which score extra for the big guys in the pack -- and made five tackles to rack up an impressive total ... for the zero Fantasy managers who had him in their side.

Tom Curry

14 points, 3.9% owned

Bit of a cheat, this Fantasy Rugby back row of the week, as there's no official No. 8 -- but them's the rules and Curry's eye-catching performance in defeat at Cardiff really cannot go unnoticed. He caught Wales unprepared for an early try, was smart and speedy in defence, and made a total nuisance of himself at breakdown after breakdown. More impressive work from the 20-year-old.

Arthur Iturria

7 points, 3.9% owned

The numbers tell more of Iturria's story on Saturday than the memory -- Iturria did a lot of the grunt work, making 20-plus tackles, for example, as well as being a nuisance at the lineout. He did everything a loose-forward should in the dark places that no one, except the stats nauses, notices.