Owen Farrell I love constituents, because they are huge!!
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- Which forwards should you pick?
As a Telegraph Fantasy Rugby manager, your task is simple – assemble a team of 15 players to score you fantasy points based on their performances in the upcoming tournament in Japan.
You can pick up to five free Telegraph Fantasy Rugby teams and you can change your line-ups as much as you like right up to the first kick-off at 11.45am on Friday, September 20.
Do you pick based on reputation, like the majority will, or do you try to separate yourself from the rest by taking a gamble on a lesser light in the hope they will surprise us all?
Here, Telegraph Sport runs you through the players who have been most popular among the game’s subscribers thus far, as well as offering an “expert pick”; someone who might have slipped under your radar but has every chance of scoring big in this year’s competition.
Faf de Klerk (South Africa) – £7m
The most popular No 9 by far, De Klerk has been selected by a whopping 34 per cent of you. And it’s not hard to see why, the Springbok pocket-rocket has been on fire for club and country over the past year.
De Klerk will guarantee points, be it tackles made, assists, metres gained, defenders beaten, tries scored. But. And it’s a big but. So many of you have him, meaning you won’t gain any ground or push away from the rest if he does well. In football terms, it’s the Mo Salah question. Do you play safe and guarantee a steady flow of points with De Klerk (who is the most expensive scrum-half in the game), or do you go for someone else – a cheaper point of difference?
Remember to keep an eye out when the teams get announced. South Africa have a very strong pool of No 9s to choose from – Cobus Reinach and Herschel Jantjies are also available – so De Klerk may not start every game.
Aaron Smith (New Zealand) – £6.9m
No surprises here. Smith is arguably the best No 9 in the world, he plays for arguably the best team in the world and will be a guaranteed source of points, particularly when it comes to assists. As such he has been picked by 11 per cent of you.
Like South Africa, New Zealand have taken three scrum-halves to Japan – TJ Perenara and Brad Weber make up the threesome – but Smith is a cut above and so should start most games with Perenara his back-up.
Expert pick: Greig Laidlaw (Scotland) – £6.8m
OK, so he’s expensive, and, as far as scrum-halves go, not in the same league as the likes of De Klerk, Smith, Conor Murray, Ben Youngs etc. However, Laidlaw offers what very few of the other No 9s in this game can… points for penalties.
Laidlaw may have No 9 on his back but when it comes to taking spot-kicks – be it penalties or conversions – Laidlaw is the man tasked with taking them so the Scot will not only earn you assists and metres gained as a scum-half but also gain points that would normally be snapped up by the fly-half. Two for the price of one, which suddenly makes his price tag a bit of a bargain.
Owen Farrell (England) – £8.8m
There’s every chance that Farrell won’t actually play at No 10 very often at t
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