The state of play after round three
February 26, 2013
Jim Hamilton was the top performing lock in round three © Getty Images
Last weekend's winning team - Jack Norris' team (77 points)
After another pulsating weekend of Six Nations action, the gap between those at the top of the fantasy leaderboard and those at the foot is widening. The three Tests only produced five tries but there were still plenty of points on offer. Wales, England and Scotland recorded wins and those three can all still lift the Six Nations trophy come March 16. So with just two rounds of championship action remaining, we give you a run down of who the form players are in the fantasy game.
However, if you are contemplating shuffling your fantasy pack, then bear in mind that you can make a total of 15 changes throughout the tournament and a maximum of five at any one time.
In a round where there were only five tries scored, unfortunately for the front-row contingent, none of them managed to cross the whitewash. Therefore, the two top scoring front-rowers from the past weekend are the pair of Irish forwards who managed to play the whole game - Mike Ross and Rory Best both earned three points. England's Dan Cole completed the match but he was forced to spend 10 minutes in the sin-bin and due to his yellow card, he only recorded two points from the last round of rugby.
Overall the best performing front-rower so far has been Martin Castrogiovanni who has 10 points - it would have been 11 had he not been sin-binned on Saturday. Cian Healy is next on nine while Craig Mitchell, who is yet to start a match for Wales in the current Six Nations, is on eight points.
In team news - Wales' Gethin Jenkins suffered an injury and could miss the next round of action while Scotland are optimistic that Ross Ford should be fit in time after suffering facial injuries.
The shining light in the locks for the past round of action was Scotland's Jim Hamilton. His heroic efforts in the lineout and in the scrum earned him the Man of the Match award for their hard fought 12-8 win over Ireland on Sunday. He recorded seven points which puts him second overall in the lock standings. Ahead of Hamilton, who has 11, is England's Geoff Parling. He has played the full 80 minutes in all three matches and has 14 points overall.
Parling was one of seven locks to play full matches at the weekend with his England team-mate Joe Launchbury one of them. Elsewhere, France's Yoann Maestri, Ireland's Donncha Ryan, Italy's Antonio Pavanello, Scotland's Richie Gray and Wales' Ian Evans also managed 80 minutes and all recorded three points.
Alongside Parling and Hamilton who are at the top of the leaderboard, the next two top performing locks overall are Maestri and Gray who both have nine points.
Chris Robshaw walks off the Twickenham pitch clasping his Man of the Match award © PA Photos
He is England's skipper, a potential British & Irish Lions captain but to top it all off, he is also the top performing back-rower in the fantasy game. Chris Robshaw was named Man of the Match for his performance against France meaning he was the star back-rower for round three with eight points. And he is also at the top of the overall back-rower leaderboard with 19 points. He should be one of the first names on your fantasy rugby team sheet.
Similar to the front and second-rowers, no flanker or No.8 managed to bag a try during round three but 10 did manage to play 80 minutes. Two of these - Alessandro Zanni and Louis Picamoles - sit in second and third place respectively in the overall standings while the suspended Sergio Parisse remains joint-second on 14 points. He will not play again this tournament so if he is in your fantasy team then remember to transfer him out.
Ireland's Conor Murray performed the best in round three of the Six Nations, according to our fantasy rugby game, and recorded five points - he received three for playing the full game and a further two for teeing up Craig Gilroy's score. France's Morgan Parra came second with four points - two for his start and a further two for his successful kicks at the posts.
At present England's Ben Youngs is the top scrum-half overall with 13 points with three appearances aided by two assists. Murray is on second while Danny Care's score against Scotland in round one helps him onto seven points and into third.
Despite Greig Laidlaw playing most of his rugby for both club and country at fly-half, Scotland boss Scott Johnson has played him at No.9 for their opening three Six Nations matches. And he is flourishing. He is the top point-scoring 'fly-half' for round three with seven. But he is also second overall with England's Owen Farrell leading the charts with 31. Despite limping off against France, reports suggest that the young fly-half has a good chance of being fit in time to face Italy in round four.
Farrell was second in the points-scoring charts for round three with six - the same haul for Italy's Kristopher Burton. Wales' Dan Biggar was next on five while Toby Flood and Paddy Jackson both registered three. While Farrell and Laidlaw occupy the top two places in the standings, a man who did not play in round three is third, Italy's Luciano Orquera who has 20 points to his name.
Unlike the preceding five positional groups, the centres did manage to bag two of the five tries scored at the weekend. Wales' Jonathan Davies and England's Manu Tuilagi, complete with severed ear, grabbed one each and so unsurprisingly they are our top-scoring centres for round three with eight points each.
Leigh Halfpenny collected another Man of the Match award © PA Photos
After Davies and Tuilagi there is a gap of five points to those who recorded three with six achieving this feat - England's Brad Barritt, Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll, Keith Earls and Luke Marshall, Italy's Tommaso Benvenuti and Scotland's Matthew Scott.
Scott and Davies are second in the overall standings with 14 points while Ireland's O'Driscoll is leading the way with 22 thanks to his round one effort of a try, an assist and a Man of the Match award.
Leigh Halfpenny extended his leads as the game's overall top points scorer following another memorable performance at the weekend and currently sits on 37. It has been a hugely impressive championship from the Welsh back with his try, 13 successful kicks at the posts and his two Man of the Match awards bringing up his grand total. He recorded 14 points for round three with Wesley Fofana and Alex Cuthbert next on the list with eight. They both crossed for tries and completed 80 minutes while Craig Gilroy, who bagged a try against Scotland, failed to complete the full match but earned seven points for his appearance and his score.
Halfpenny has a huge 17-point advantage at the top of the overall standings for the outside backs with Sean Maitland sitting in second with 20 points. Cuthbert is in third with 19 while Stuart Hogg is in fourth with 17.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park