The Rugby Championship 2015 is a fast and furious competition which goes only three weeks, but for managers of fantasy rugby teams like www.testrugby.com, it is a real juggling act, much as it is for the actual selectors of the All Blacks, Wallabies, Springboks and Pumas. The problem is that the tournament is that teams have so few test matches leading into the Rugby World Cup for experimentation, yet too much experimentation can cause a lack of cohesion, there is a fine line.
Managers in www.testrugby.com get 12 trades. While it seems like lots for only a three week competition, it isn't.
It is important to select players who will be mainstays of their teams like captains, or players who selectors know thrive on playing more matches. This is where the likes of Stephen Moore (Wallabies), Dan Carter (All Blacks) and Bismarck du Plessis (Springboks) are worth the investment.
In The Rugby Championship Round 1, expect the All Blacks to beat Argentina, while the Australia vs South Africa game will be closer. One look at the All Blacks squad for example suggests that this could be the last time that players like Sonny Bill Williams, Keven Mealamu, Luke Romano, TJ Perenara and Israel Dagg start because they are not the first choice players in their position. The other thing to watch out for is that the moment the All Blacks have the game safe (assuming they win), they will clear their bench and give as many people as possible gametime.
Given budget restrictions in many fantasy rugby games, it is necessary to choose players from all teams, but the preference should be for the All Blacks in Round 1.
Here are ten fantasy rugby picks
1) Waisake Naholo (All Blacks) - Naholo was the top try scorer in Super Rugby, so he knows his way to the chalk. Naholo also was the top points' scorer in many fantasy rugby games including www.testrugby.com. He is a bargain at just over $800,000.
2) Jesse Kriel (Springboks) - If you want a bargain priced player listed as an outside back, despite starting against Australia in the midfield, then Kriel is your player. He is one of the cheapest players in the game.
3) Dan Carter (All Blacks) - Everyone knows that DC is still the man and he needs gametime in his quest to provide the high levels of consistency required. The coaching staff realise this and so expect him to start in at least one other game too.
4) Handre Pollard (Springboks) - Pollard gives the Springboks a dynamic ball running first five eighth, who was one of the best five eighths in fantasy rugby during the Super Rugby competition.
5) Stephen Moore (Wallabies) - Moore is the Wallabies' captain and the first name on the team sheet. He will log plenty of minutes and should be a consistent points scorer.
6) Bismarck du Plessis (Springboks) - Du Plessis had a great second half of the Super Rugby season for the Sharks. He brings physicality and accuracy at the set pieces to help the Springboks dominate most teams up front.
7) Guido Petti (Pumas) - This guy will thrive on his first Rugby Championship experience against the All Blacks. He is an absolute bargain and ideal if you are struggling to fit under the salary cap.
8) Facundo Isa (Pumas) - Is considered long overdue to develop himself as a top level Number Eight for the Pumas, although it is one area where the Argentina team has plenty of depth.
9) Matt Giteau (Wallabies) - Depending on who does the goalkicking for the Wallabies, Giteau could be a good option as he plays in the midfield and is an experienced player.
10) Damian de Allende (Springboks) - de Allende beat so many defenders in Super Rugby and was a regular threat for the Stormers, making him an ideal bargain. He is priced under $1 million and will surely be a handful for the Wallabies defence in Round 1.
Who are you picking in The Rugby Championship fantasy rugby?