Fantasy Rugby 2018: Week two Six Nations preview

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The Six Nations threw up its fair share of thrills and spills in the opening weekend to set up a tantalising second round of fixtures. England's clash with Wales promises to be great viewing after both sides recorded impressive first-up wins, but it might be in Dublin where fantasy points are flowing when Ireland host Italy.

ESPN covers all angles ahead of round two of Fantasy Rugby 2018.


Feb. 10, 2.15 p.m. GMT - Ireland vs. Italy

Feb. 10, 4.45 p.m. GMT - England vs. Wales

Feb. 11, 3.00 p.m. GMT - Scotland vs. France

Where am I going to score points?

While Italy showed glimpses of class last week against England and Ireland failed to score a try against France, expect Joe Schmidt's side to break the shackles in Dublin against the Azzurri.

This was the fixture in 2017 that saw CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy both run in hat tricks as Ireland ended with nine tries in a 63-10 rout. Stander starts on the bench in Dublin, but Keith Earls may be a good option for your side on the wing.

Elsewhere, Scotland should come out all guns blazing after a lacklustre effort in Cardiff. They'll take on a French side at Murrayfield who had the energy sapped out of them against Ireland.

Who should I transfer out?

Two of the premier scrum-halves from the Home Nations won't feature in the remainder of the Six Nations with England's Ben Youngs joining Wales' Rhys Webb on the sidelines through injury. Youngs (knee) misses out with Danny Care replacing him, while Richard Wigglesworth is called into Eddie Jones' squad.

Ireland back row Josh van der Flier is another to transfer out with the Leinster flanker was deputising in the No. 7 shirt with Sean O'Brien unavailable, only for a knee injury against France to prematurely end his tournament.

France's star back row Kevin Gourdon -- who made our fantasy team of the year in 2017 -- won't pick up any points this week due to an ankle injury sustained in the loss to Ireland.

Who should I bring in?

He may have had his struggles in the Top 14 this season but when Louis Picamoles is on top of his game there aren't many better No. 8s in world rugby. Picamoles -- who has been called up for the injured Gourdon -- was in devastating form for Les Bleus during last year's Six Nations, and will be eager to prove a point after missing the initial squad this year.

Care will want to show he's not just a 'finisher' when he starts at scrum-half against Wales, while Jordan Larmour is one to consider if he can transfer his scintillating club form onto the international stage.

Who should be my kicker?

It's hard to look past Johnny Sexton. The Ireland fly-half will be riding a wave of confidence after his unforgettable drop-goal from 45 metres after time expired to snatch victory against France, while his place kicking in Paris was just as vital with all four of his penalty attempts successful.

It would be a surprise to many if Sexton is lining up penalty and drop goal attempts rather than conversions against Italy. Ireland should find plenty of space to score tries back home in Dublin which should allow Sexton to cash in with fantasy points off the tee.

Owen Farrell and Leigh Halfpenny are also solid options as England and Wales duke it out at Twickenham.