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BYU to face Cal in rugby college championship

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For the fourth consecutive year, the Cal Golden Bears and BYU Cougars will square off in Provo, Utah, for the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup National Rugby Collegiate Championship. NBCSN will present live coverage of the Cal-BYU championship clash this Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

BYU has defeated Cal in each of the three previous iterations of the Varsity Cup dating back to 2012, including last year’s championship, when the Cougars earned a 30-27 win at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City. This year’s game will be played at BYU’s South Field, where the Cougars have never lost a game.

Cal advanced to this year’s championship match following a 14-13 win over Central Washington in the semifinals, while the top-ranked Cougars punched their ticket to the title match with a 68-20 win over Arkansas State. BYU has won 44 consecutive matches dating back to February 2014.

Cal leads the all-time series against BYU 10-4 dating back to 1972, but BYU has had the upper hand recently with three straight wins in the Varsity Cup.

NatWest 6 Nations fantasy update

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In the first of two NatWest 6 Nations Fantasy Rugby specials, we’re looking at the forwards who have impressed so far in the Championship.

After two thrilling rounds of the NatWest 6 Nations, England and Ireland are both unbeaten with Wales and Scotland breathing down their necks with one win each.

Just like the Championship, the fantasy rugby is also heating up with the third week set to be decisive as the quest for supremacy continues.

Hookers

Ireland captain Rory Best leads the way amongst the hookers after captaining Ireland to victories over France and Italy in the opening two rounds.

Best’s points are boosted by a try with England skipper Dylan Hartley not far behind followed by Wales’ Ken Owens and France’s Guilhem Guirado.

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Owens is the cheapest hooker amongst the top five performers to date with England’s Jamie George closing in on Hartley despite coming on as a replacement in both games.

Rory Best (14.60) – 67
Dylan Hartley (13.95) – 44.4
Ken Owens (11.55) – 39
Guilhem Guirado (14.35) – 37.6
Jamie George (13.80) – 34.6

Props

England’s start props Mako Vunipola and Dan Cole are the highest scorers here with the former’s 30 tackles and 21 metres carried helping him to top the rankings.

Ireland’s Jack McGrath and Andrew Porter are both cheaper and have scored strong points from their opening two games with Rob Evans offering good value at 11.50 stars.

Mako Vunipola (14.75) – 73.6
Dan Cole (14.15) – 52.8
Jack McGrath (13.00) – 43.6
Andrew Porter (12.70) – 40.4
Rob Evans (11.50) – 33.8

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Lock

The locks continue to offer exciting value to Fantasy Rugby players with Joe Launchbury’s 29 tackles and two defenders beaten putting him at the top here.

England teammate Maro Itoje is a close second with Aaron Shingler, the cheapest option of the five, in third after making 85 meters in the first two games.

Courtney Lawes is a point further back, but much more expensive, with Iain Henderson also offering good value after picking up 55.8 points so far in the Championship.

Joe Launchbury (14.85) – 76.2
Maro Itoje (16.35) – 74.8
Aaron Shingler (13.45) – 69.6
Courtney Lawes (15.05) – 68.2
Iain Henderson (14.25) – 55.8

Loose forwards

Two tries on his NatWest 6 Nations debut has helped Sam Simmonds to the top of the loose forwards but he’s been ruled out of Round Three.

That could see Chris Robshaw selected by more players with a trio of Irish offering value ahead of the visit of Wales to Dublin this weekend.

Sam Simmonds (17.15) – 110.6
Chris Robshaw (14.80) – 75.2
Sean O’Mahony (14.65) – 74.8
Dan Leavy (11.35) – 59.4
CJ Stander (15.35) – 58.6

France’s Morgan Parra to undergo knee surgery, miss rest of 6 Nations

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Clermont Auvergne has reportedly confirmed France scrum-half Morgan Parra will miss the remainder of the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations Championship. The Frenchman is set undergo arthroscopic surgery for a torn meniscus he sustained last month.

Parra, 29, was initially prescribed three weeks of rest following the injury. He is now expected to be out four-to-six weeks before shifting his focus to Clermont’s Champions Cup.

France, seeking their first 6 Nations Championship title, opened their campaign with losses to Ireland and Scotland in the first two rounds.

Action will resume with Round Three on Friday, Feb. 23. Every match can be seen with NBC Sports Gold Rugby Pass.

See the Full Schedule | Watch 6 Nations with NBC Sports Gold Rugby Pass