I know we've hit October, not because of the changing colour of the leaves or the darker mornings; nope, I know it's October because the masses are chatting about the most recent edition of FIFA that's about to be released. There's always so much hype about what new additions will be brought to the fore and also who will be the highest ranked players...Frankly, I don't get it but I know I'm probably in the minority with that viewpoint.
I’m not really a gamer myself but I thought given the imminent release of Rugby 18 I'd attempt to predict who I think will be the top 15 rated players within the game…this is extremely speculative.
One thing I must add is that I'd probably have All Blacks across the board…however for the sake of diversity, I’ve gone with some other nations too.
15. C J Stander: (86 Overall) (Right)
A strong season for Munster topped off with an impressive performance on the Lions tour means Stander will feature pretty highly. Reckon he'd be a rather fun lad to play with on the old Xbox.
14. Stuart Hogg (86)
The Scottish flyer and twice 6 Nations Player of the Year could be Scotland’s best player in the game by a fair bit. They’ve been impressive as a team but I can’t see the game being generous to them; never have been in the past.
13. Eben Etzebeth (87)
An absolute man mountain who is brilliant around the line-out. Although the Saffas have had a dismal year, this fella is still a standout player and would start for most teams!
12. Sam Warburton (87)
I’m sure the Lions captain will feature prominently within the games stats; he has to right? Warburton’s form has yoyo’d in the past couple of years but as you tap one of the buttons ferociously to add players to the breakdown, you're going to want one of them to be Warbs!
11. Johnny Sexton (88) (Right)
Figured out how to play alongside Farrell this summer and on his day, he can unlock even the most organised defences. He rates a technical move, so he may be best used with the dummy switch functionality (which occurrs when holding down one of the buttons for a couple of seconds if I remember correctly).
10. Louis Picamoles (88)
The French have struggled for years, chopping and changing their team weekly; but one of their stalwarts and most consistent performers is this guy; an absolute brute with a deft touch. Shove that anologue stick forward and watch him break tackle after tackle.
09. Maro Itoje (89) (Right)
What an exciting prospect this guy is! A future Lions captain, of that I’m sure and his performances for his club and country have been seriously influential. It's no lineout guesswork against the PlayStation when you've got this guy; steals for days.
08. Billy Vunipola (90)
Unfortunate with injuries in the last 12 months but his talents are highly regarded worldwide. Like Picamoles, his in-play-boshing will be brilliant!
07. Conor Murray (90)
He’s at the top of his game and is certainly one of the best 9’s in the world. It’ll be good fun box kicking with this guy and I doubt many will rival his pinpoint accuracy.
06. Owen Farrell (91) (Right)
Magnificent vision, strong in defence and a metronomic boot; all the reasons fuel Eddie Jones’ for Farrell being world class. I just hope the game has included his multiple head turns before he kicks at goal.
05. Israel Folau (91)
We had to fit a Wallaby in here somewhere; and although this fella may go missing in matches from time to time, you can rely on him to deliver the goods when it really matters. It's always fun controlling the powerful and flamboyant players; he'll be a real weapon!
04. Keiran Read (91)
You don’t become captain of the All Blacks unless you’re a pretty epic leader and a quality player. Read leads by example and has been doing so for years. I bet his leadership stat is above 90!
03. Ben Smith (91)
He may have endured an injury-ridden season and might be about to take a playing sabbatical but Ben Smith remains the best full back in the world. He is Mr. Reliable and I reckon if you play a box kick (even a Conor Murray one) into him, there'll only be one winner - you'll be cursing him if he's in the opposition.
02. Brodie Retallick (92)
An epic 2nd row who was really fantastic for the All Blacks during the Lions tour and also in the recent Rugby Championship; this guy's going to be kicking around for a long time. Hold down that right trigger and let his open those rangey legs; TRY time!
01. Beauden Barrett (94) (Right)
The best player in the world at this current moment and the absolute lynchpin of the recent All Black success. He’s a magician; and a rapid one at that. Whether it's a cute little kick over the top, or a dummy pass and a break through the line, you'll have a lot of fun playing with this guy!
So, there you have it; my prediction for the game's player ratings...not that it really matters what I think; it's not like they're going to change them now they've read this. Nevertheless, I'd be keen to hear your thoughts on my selections!