Fantasy Rugby: Making Rugby Union Even More Exciting.
Here is your guide to what Fantasy Rugby Union is and how to play it. Learn what makes rugby union perfect as a fantasy sport. Pick your team, make trades and follow your favourite players. As if rugby wasn’t awesome enough already!
Fantasy sports continue to grow as a phenomenon. As the popularity of rugby union increases, more people are getting into Fantasy Rugby. Read on to discover tips on how it works and where to play Fantasy Rugby Union online.
Rugby Union and Other Fantasy Sports
Fantasy Rugby Union works like any other fantasy sport, such as baseball or football. They are all online games where people manage a virtual sports team containing real life players. Athletes generate points each game based on their performance. The virtual team accrues points based on the statistics generated by their players.
Managers purchase players for their virtual team and compete against managers. Online fantasy sports have become popular around the world. Internationally, fantasy rugby union and soccer are popular. Australia has fantasy rugby league and Australian football while the States have baseball and American football.
Whatever the sport, they all have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Some are big, such as scoring for the team, or small like catching a ball. KPIs are converted to points for each player. Points can be deducted for mistakes, so a player might have negative points in a given week.
The exciting thing about Fantasy Rugby Union is the wide variety of KPIs that can be converted to points. There are scrums, lineouts, tackles, tackle and line breaks, even catching and passing. There are scoring plays too, like tries, conversions, penalties and drop goals. Each action generates points for the player. This variety is what makes Fantasy Rugby an exciting and engaging pastime for rugby fans.
Draft and Salary Cap Competitions
Typically fantasy sports are draft and league-based. Your team plays in a league and every athlete in the competition can only be used once across the whole league. Each week your team faces off against another team and the winner moves up the ladder.
However, most Fantasy Rugby Union sites have traditionally used a salary cap based system. Athletes can be used by as many teams who wish to buy them. In this system player prices are reflected by how many people own that player. Managers buy and sell players throughout the season, but the number of trades are limited. Player values fluctuate as people buy and sell that player.
How to Play Fantasy Rugby Union
How to play fantasy rugby varies depends on the site but there are some consistencies.
- The competition lasts as long as the tournament it is mirroring, such as the Six Nations or Super Rugby.
- Players are assigned to a position or position-group. These include: front row, loose forwards, inside backs, midfield and outside backs.
- Trades are limited in salary cap games.
- Teams must be complete by the deadline. This is usually an hour before the first game kicks off.
- Some get you to nominate a captain or kicker for special scoring.
One of the big variations between sites is how points are allocated. Some sites might be more generous with points for tackles and assists, or goal kicks. Be aware of what actions score the most points before selecting your team.
Fantasy Rugby Union Tips
Because of the different rules and scoring systems, the approach to each game varies. Some positions may not be worth investing much money in. In the old Fantasy Rugby site, tackles were very valuable, so a player like McCaw was a must. However, in Test Rugby a line breaking flanker might be a better investment.
Having a full team is always important, as is checking for injuries and rotation. The increased season length and physicality of modern rugby is making life more difficult for Fantasy Rugby managers. Coaches tend to alter their teams more from week to week, so watch for team announcements. It can be tempting to use too many players from the team you support. This alignment works well in making sure you don’t value your fantasy rugby union team’s success more than your real life team. However, if your real life team is not performing well it can make for a long season. Having athletes from a variety of teams is key, but tighten this up as the play offs near. Keep an eye out for bye weeks and make sure you don’t have too many players on a bye at once.
For tips on the salary cap games, check out this article on ‘The Ten Commandments of Fantasy Rugby’.
Best Fantasy Rugby Sites
The variety of Fantasy Rugby Union sites is growing. FantasyRugby.com was one of the first, but they have been inactive over the last couple of seasons. Test Rugby has been operating the longest and has now partnered with Planet Rugby. Over the last few years, news sites have entered the market and increased the competition. They often invest a lot of resources but sometimes don’t have the rules. My favourite is Test Rugby, but this year I will be trying out The Irish Times and Fantasy Rugby Draft. I am looking forward to seeing how the draft system works for Fantasy Rugby Union as previously I have only used it for American Football. There will also be a lot more options for the World Cup this year and the chance to pick a team using the best players from around the World.
Here are some popular fantasy rugby union sites:
I will continue to update this list. Post your comments about what you think the best sites are.
Need some inspiration to help you make your team? Check out this video and imagine having a team like this!