Five must-start fantasy players in Round 7

Paul Eddison
27 November 2019

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Round 7 of the Guinness PRO14 brings with it the start of the Guinness PRO14 Fantasy Rugby game and the big question is who will be your league winners over the next few months?

With six weeks in the bag, we have an idea of some of the more unlikely names who have already made an impact, but past performance does not necessarily mean that they will continue to dominate.

Consider European form, upcoming match-ups, and other factors like Wales playing the Barbarians this weekend.

With that in mind, here are five selections who could be in for a bumper weekend in fantasy land:

Joseph Dweba (Toyota Cheetahs)

Two hookers have stood out so far this season, and while Leinster’s Ronan Kelleher is the top-scoring forward in the game, we are going to go for the man with the slightly better match-up in Joseph Dweba.

Granted, going for a Cheetahs player on the road might seem dangerous – they are a much better team at home – but with five tries in six matches, it is hard to look past Dweba.

Add in the fact they are away to the Ospreys, who have had a tough time of it both domestically and in Europe, and there is plenty of reason to fancy Dweba to make an impact.

Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh)

It seems crazy to back anyone on the road against Munster, but if there is one player who seems almost match-up proof, it’s Edinburgh winger Duhan van der Merwe.

The South African was exceptional against Bordeaux-Bègles last Friday, even in a low-scoring draw and is the third highest-scoring back in fantasy this season.

Admittedly, his one poor outing was away to Leinster, but as Edinburgh head to Cork, Van der Merwe is more than capable of being a difference-maker. He scored the beauty below on his last trip to Irish Independent Park, while Teddy Thomas showed last week that visiting wingers can thrive away to Munster.

Colby Fainga’a (Connacht)

Colby Fainga’a only started one of Connacht’s first six matches in the Guinness PRO14, which explains why he is way down in the top scorers so far this campaign.

He was back fit and firing in Europe though, including setting up Caolin Blade for a brilliant try against Toulouse, and while Connacht are still missing a number of key contributors, Fainga’a is not one of them.

With the Isuzu Southern Kings heading to Galway this weekend, the dynamic flanker looks to have a great opportunity to shine.

John Cooney (Ulster)

Ulster are going to be without Billy Burns this weekend, while Will Addison is also under threat of suspension after being cited for a dangerous tackle in the win over Clermont.

One man who is available is John Cooney, who is in exceptional form right now. He got the match-winning try in the Clermont success, and is being tipped for a Test recall.

Against a Scarlets team deprived of their Welsh internationals, Cooney should thrive. Add in his goal-kicking and it is easy to see why he is the second highest-scoring back in fantasy this year.

Benetton defence

It might surprise a few people to know that Leinster’s defence has outscored every player in fantasy this season, just in case you needed a reminder of the importance of picking the right defence each week.

Leinster travel to Glasgow this weekend though, so expecting them to repeat the trick seems optimistic. Instead, we’re going for something of a gamble in the form of the Benetton defence as they host Cardiff Blues.

Like the Scarlets, the Blues will be without some of their internationals, while Benetton have been good defensively at home domestically (less so in Europe). With a nice match-up, they could be in for a good weekend.


Cardiff City Stadium will play host to the 2020 Guinness PRO14 Final on June 20 as one of the most exciting days in the club rugby calendar comes to Wales!

General sale tickets are available from http://bit.ly/PRO14Cardiff2020 and prices start at just £13 for concessions and £26 for adults (subject to booking fees), that’s a 15% early bird discount. Family ticket (2 adults / 2 children) prices begin at £64 and fans are encouraged to buy early to get the best value tickets.

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