Fantasy rugby: One game to go - so it's time to pick the final 12

By Cameron McMillan

Cameron McMillan looks at the important decisions to be made by Fantasy managers before the final Super rugby game

Stephen Moore's strong outing against the Bulls makes him a contender for the Fantasy front row. Photo / Getty Images
Stephen Moore's strong outing against the Bulls makes him a contender for the Fantasy front row. Photo / Getty Images

With one game left in the season you'd expect the number of decisions to be made by Herald Rugby Fantasy managers to decrease - but there are still plenty of moves to be considered before the Chiefs and Brumbies clash in Hamilton.

Herald Fantasy Rugby allows you to pick a maximum of six players from each team, and if you have enough transfers left, your team should have 12 players competing in tomorrow's final and three non-playing members.

Six Chiefs, six Brumbies. Which 12 make the cut?

Cruden or Leali'ifano?

To quote myself from last week, "the two first-fives are the only two options to consider this weekend".

I was talking about Dan Carter and Morne Steyn at the time, but I'm pretty sure I can't be so wrong two weeks running. Cruden's 32 points against the Crusaders was easily a season high and ended two weeks of scoring only four points.

He made 10 tackles for the first time this season and scored his second try of the season, and his metres gained was the second highest for the year.

Cruden produced one heck of a performance in all aspects but can he do it two weeks running? Not once this season has he scored 20-plus points in consecutive weeks.

Leali'ifano cracked 20 points three weeks in a row during the season and has shown more consistency. The Brumbies No10 scored 15-plus points 12 times this season compared to Cruden who did it six times.

This is a one-off game, though, and ultimately your pick at first-five should be based on which side you think will win.

Rest of the backs

It's hard to find a consistent Fantasy performer in either backline so it's a bit of pot luck for these picks. Brumbies halfback Nick White gets the edge over Tawera Kerr-Barlow as you're getting very similar output for $1.4 million less. Charlie Ngatai has hit his straps in the second half of the season but is getting a bit pricey at $9.18m. If he carries his recent form (32 points last two games) into the final he'll be a good pick.

Lelia Masaga is even more expensive and a bigger risk but again his recent form (28 points last two games) can't be ignored.

Tevita Kuridrani was the hero last week and like teammate Jesse Mogg doesn't offer much Fantasy value if he doesn't cross the line - but picking both is a possible option to cover you.

Henry Speight may be one of the overall top scorers, but he has scored only once in the past eight games.

Forwards

Tanerau Latimer is a must-have, not only for his form rise (37 points in the past two weeks) but also because he's priced at $5.7 million, much cheaper than teammate Liam Messam ($7 million) who should also be in your side. Messam has had a great run having scored 10+ points in his last nine outings including 39 in the last fortnight. George Smith (19 points last week) is a decent third option in the loose forwards and remains a steal at $4.77 million.

As suggested last week, Craig Clarke is another great cheap option and produced 24 Fantasy points against the Crusaders.

Scott Fardy ($4.8 million) just edges Brodie Retallick ($5.6 million) who is the top-scoring lock with 230 points. Despite that Fardy has 65 points from the past four games, 16 more than the All Black lock.

The front row should be a place for your three players not in the final, but Stephen Moore ($3.85 million) had a strong outing last week against the Bulls with 14 points.

Six Chiefs - Ngatai, Masaga, Cruden, Clarke, Latimer, Messam

Six Brumbies - Mogg, Kuridrani, White, G. Smith, Fardy, Moore.

- NZ Herald

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