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By ARU Media Unit
Welcome back to your weekly Fantasy Editorial where you find all the latest results, player stats and team performances for the 2014 Asteron Life Super Rugby competition.
Last week we looked at the leading point scorers with Israel Folau’s name making the headlines along with Marnitz Boshoff and Malakai Fekitoa.
The Auckland Blues couldn’t handle the title of ‘Team of the Week’ and went out of fantasy fashion as quick as they came in, following a 22-38 loss to the Bulls in South Africa.
The weekend saw Australian teams do well across the board with the Western Force, ACT Brumbies and Queensland Reds all notching up victories, leaving the Melbourne Rebels to lick their wounds as we preview Round 5.
A number of forwards have jumped up the fantasy ranks after Round 4 so it is fair we give credit where it is due and take a look at the ‘Top 3 Back Rowers’ this week.
- Force captain Matt Hodgson made his 100th Super Rugby Test count as his team downed the Rebels 32-7 in Perth. The veteran back rower not only leads the charge for fantasy forwards but has knocked off Izzy for the top spot overall following the Waratah’s bye week. His experience payed fantasy dividends on the weekend with the versatile forward scoring a ‘meat pie’ and making 22 tackles as his team found the form they have been searching for. Hodgson is gradually rising in value and a player to make room for in your team before the Force take on the Highlanders this Saturday.
- Team mate Ben McCalman (66) played a big role in the Force’s victory last weekend and continues to ply his trade at the breakdown. The loose forward and Wallaby regular made 13 tackles and gained 24 metres to help his team storm to victory over the Rebels. McCalman is coming off a good platform with one try and leads the forwards overall in yardage, breaking through opposition defence with over 100 metres in just three games. A force to be reckoned with in the next few rounds and a handy trade for Round 5 and beyond.
- Despite the Rebels loss on the weekend, Scott Higginbotham continues to impress for his side with the captain sitting in 6th spot overall after playing just two games. The talented back rower rounds out the top three - leading the competition in turnovers won (4) with a try to his name already. His kicking prowess and skill with the ball in hand makes him a gold mine for any fantasy team with forwards awarded an additional four points per try. Higginbotham will be a diamond in the ruff when the Rebels take on an experienced Crusaders outfit this weekend.
With Australian forwards leading the way in points, it is only fair we step out of the engine room and look at the ‘Kiwi of the Week.’
- Frank Halai (57) from the Blues may not be a household name, but the 6.5ft, 110 kg wrecking ball has represented the All Blacks and the All Black Sevens team and guess what? He plays on the wing. The New Zealander sits fifth overall and is the third ranked back on the fantasy list behind Israel Folau and Luke Morahan.
He has crossed the line once so far, has 186 metres under his belt and hasn’t missed a tackle in his last two games. The Blues play the Lions this weekend at Ellis Park and Halai will be looking to impress in front of his home crowd.
This week’s fantasy hint: Choose your kicker wisely – every missed kick at goal will set you back 5 points.
For all the stats and insights into the Fantasy Competition simply follow the links here to find out who’s hot and who’s not.
There is also still time to join the Super Rugby Tipping Competition and enter a private competition with prizes on offer every five rounds, see the ‘Game Rules’ page for all the details.
Fans can benchmark themselves against our panel of celebrity tipsters. Former Wallaby prop Al Baxter (@AlastairBaxter3) and professional surfer Sally Fitzgibbons (@Sally_Fitz) will join the panel, alongside TV host Jessica Skaratt (@JessicaSkarratt), Olympic gold medallist Jessicah Schipper (@JessSchipper) and Rugby presenter Quentin Hull (@QuentinHull).
Follow our celebrities’ expert advice as they share their weekly tips with you via the Super Rugby website.
Good luck to all 2014 tipsters and fantasy managers.