Detailed Dream List for Big Ant

I have played a lot of rugby over my life and in numerous places like Ireland, New Zealand, Wales and now Australia. I have played to a high level and now have numerous injuries and sore and stiff body parts from the sport. I have won primer ships, leagues and trophies as a player and as a coach both at club level and coaching schools. I have also been relegated and had multiple cards in my time, including reds. I would not change any of it, perhaps a few more tours but that’s it.

The reason I really got into rugby was because of EA Rugby. I remember going down to extravision the day it came out and buying it and playing non stop, even though it wasn’t a great game. Being from a rural part of Northern Ireland this was the only real access that I had but it fostered my love for the sport and for gaming.

I still coach and play and I really want to see rugby do better as a sport and as a spectacle. I completely agree with Agustin Pichot when he said that to engage younger audiences and bring the game to new people we need a good game. As a teacher I see how this game is vital for our sport and as someone who plays American Football in the off season, and who learned all the rules from playing Madden, I can also see personally the potential that a really good rugby can have on teaching people about it.

Unfortunately, the blazers in World Rugby will not see this anytime soon so we must get behind this game, for the good of the game and also because I really want a good game, badly. I do love gaming as well. So I took some time and put together a document for Big Ant. Please feel free to reach out. The Google Doc I made had a better layout so if you want that please ask. I am sure you will not agree with some of it, or some is unrealistic and there may be some inconsistent errors but hopefully you get the main points across.

In regards to more immediate feedback to the current game, there is a fair bit to do. The first thing is getting the scrum half to the base of rucks. Good 9s stay out of the way and command those around them to hit rucks. Numerous times there is no one at the base of the ruck, when there is, it’s not a 9.

There seems to be no forward pods or structure in attack. As I said below L2 and R2 should be used to as pod options but it has used in a purposeful way, like having a structure, a simple 1-3-3-1 would be for now.

Side view good, is though. Good angle. May use that from now on.

Please feel free to ask for any clarification if needed.

Controls (xbox)


Traditional rugby controls are used so that users are familiar with the game. However, there are more advanced controls that reflect the complex nature of modern rugby.

Standard Passing, Kicking & Manoeuvres

Both sets of shoulder buttons are still used to pass.

L1 or L2 - Pass left and right

Hold and then release L1 or L2 - Pass left and right with a miss pass

Hold L1 or L2 and select A, X, B or Y - Pass left with the option pass to the player with running lines.

This option passes with the use of face buttons and can only be used with players with attack over a certain level. There is also the ‘Player Trait’ (see below) that will display the options without the L1 or L2 being held, this reflects their ability to read the game.

Example of how passing could work with different running lines when bumper buttons, L1, R1, L2 and R2, are held down.

Kicking can only be performed when holding down the R2 button in open play (different in rucks) as all players must ready themselves for kicks. Players with low kicking skills will be slow to react and have poor aim. Players with the kicking trait will react almost instantly.

By holding the R2 button the user will have the following options:

R2 + A - Spiral kick
R2 + X - Grubber
R2 + B - Drop Goal
R2 + Y - Bomb

Attack with ball in hand

When R2 is not held, manoeuvres can be performed. These are performed with the face buttons of A, X, B or Y offering different attacking options. By tapping the face button the player with ball in hand will enter into a stance that will reflect the action being attempted. This can be tapped on and off with a press of the same button. Once on, the player can use the right directional stick to move the player, ball or fend depending on what has been selected.

These options can be activated just before contact to stop the defence from reading what the player is going to do, however, players with low stats in these areas will react slowly to this command and could knock the ball on.

A + Right directional stick - Side Step
X + Right directional stick - Offload
B + Right directional stick - Fend
Y + Right directional stick - Hard carry

All options are limited to only a few times in a row, depending on the player’s skill level to stop users abusing the skills. For example, constantly using the side step to get away from a defender; though if the correct tackle option is used it is nullified regardless - see defence.

Players with traits in these areas will allow for options to happen even without an option being selected or another option being picked. They will also be able to perform the move more than the standard set and with higher agility, speed or strength.

In defence defenders can select the correct tackle option that could stop these attacking options. Please see Defence (tackle).

Ruck Attack
L1 or L2 - Pass left and right to back.
R1 or R2 - Pass left and right to forward pod.

Each button can be held to select which player will receive the ball and what they will do with it. For example, a scrum half is at the base of the completed ruck and ready to play and the user would like to attack the left, they can:

L1 - Pass to 10
Hold L1 + A - Pass to 12 on crash ball
R2 - Pass to lead of forward pod (3 player pod)
Holding the R2 or L2 button will allow for face button options to appear that will pass to certain players or perform a certain action. These are:

R2 + X - Closet forward of attacking pod
R2 + B - Furthest forward of attacking pod
R2 + A - Lead forward who will then perform pass out the back to 10
R2 + Y - Lead forward to crash up the ball with the close support of pod

(higher risk of pen but greater chance of ball retention)

There are a number of options that the user can use when attacking with forwards. A simple R2 or L2 will pass straight to option 1 but by holding the R2 or L2 these other options can be used.

Base of Ruck

Further attacking options can be utilised from the base of the ruck. These can be used by scrum half for sniping runs or kicking.

These options are:

A + Left directional stick - Box Kick
X + Left directional stick - Pick up ball and run sideways ready for pass
B + Left directional stick - Snipe Run
Y + Left directional stick - Quick run from rucking player (not always an option)

As stated, options are:

L1 L2 - Pass left and right to back.
R1 R2 - Pass left and right to forward pod.
Hold L1 or R1 - Pass left and right to back for advanced passing options.
L2 or R2 - Pass left and right to forward pod for advanced passing options.

Pick and Go

Further to this the ‘View Button’ can be pressed for the scrum half to step back and direct forwards attack. All options are still available however snipe runs are replaced with pick and go options which players will be prepared for. This means a higher chance of ball retention and filling the Ruck Metre straight away. However, too many of the same actions will increase the chance of penalties and draw in players with traits that can counter this move, such as jackals, counter rucker and so on.

The view button can be pressed again for the scrum half to return to their normal role. All options still remain for whoever plays at the base however if an action is tried, for example a prop with a low passing skill to the playmaker 10, then this will not be performed well and could lead to slow ball attack or turnover from the resulting actions.


Traditional rugby controls are used so that users are familiar with the game. However, there are more advanced controls that reflect the complex nature of modern rugby.

Defence (tackle)

The user can direct a defender into contact where an automatic hip tackle is made if the player makes contact with the ball carrier. However, these tackles can be broken, or avoided or an effective offload can be performed.

Standard Hip Tackle is default if no option is selected. However, these can be broken. Especially if an attacker has traits in this area.

When defending, a user can choose which kind of tackle to use against an attacker. If the user reads the tackle situation correctly, they can select the correct option and make a dominant tackle.

Y - Big Hit
X - Chop Tackle
A - Smother Tackle
B - Choke Tackle

If the wrong option is selected then an advantage is given for a penalty.

Ruck & Ruck Defence

All rucks will have ‘Ruck Metres’ that need to be filled for the ruck to be won. This can be done within an instant if support is close by, a player trait allows it, or if the ruck is not contested. This will allow for quick ball in attack.

For example, in pick and go moments where the tight five will be in close proximity of the ruck it will be won almost instantly. However, if a winger makes a break and no support is near by arriving player stats will dictate the overall outcome of the ruck and speed of the attack.

In general play, rucks will be decided by the player’s stats within proximity of the ruck and how many players the user decides to commit to the ruck or counter ruck. However, as stated, quick ball can be generated by playing within structure and players with excellent stats and traits.

If the defending team fills up the ‘Ruck Metre’ before the attacking then a turnover will happen. It is the choice of the defending team to commit players.

The attacker has a pod and structure and may have quick ball in the next phase if played correctly.


If a defending player gets to a tackle before supporting players arrive to form a ruck then a jackal mini game will be started. Depending on the player’s technique skill stat will dictate the difficulty of the mini game.

For example, a player with a low skill level will have a larger button combo to complete before the Ruck Metre is filled. A player with a higher stat, or a trait in this area, will have an easier button combo to complete.

A player with a ‘jackal’ trait can initiate a mini game even if the ruck metre has been filled already. However, other traits in the attacking team, such as ‘Rucker’ will decrease the time that the user has to complete the mini game, or stop the game if the trait is gold standard against a weaker trait, meaning a turnover is less likely.

If a combo is incorrect a penalty advantage is given to the attacking team.

A player like David Pocock will have a very high jackal level plus a Gold Player Trait in the jackal area resulting in an easier mini game.

Defence (Open Play)

Line defence and organisation is an important factor. Using the correct type of defence can slow or stop an attack. However, using the wrong or being slow to react can lead to space being created for the attacking team. These are selected using the D-pad while defending. The options are

  1. Narrow Defence
  2. Wide Defence
  3. Kick Defence
  4. Tight Ruck Defence

Employing the right defence is vital. If a defending team uses wide defence to defend pick and go then the attacking team will find this an effective manner to gain ground. This is the case if the scenario is reversed, using tight defence while the attacking team is attacking out wide.

If the defending team does not try and slow the ball down by putting pressure on the ruck then these different options will not be acted upon very quickly. However, gold rated teams will act upon these quicker than bronze teams.

However, competing at every available ruck will tire defenders very quickly, opening holes in the defence later in the game. A user must be careful.

Each team will have individual styles of defence that are based on real and current team tactics. There are further options in Menu to employ:

  • Blitz Defense
  • Drift Defense
  • Man on Man

Set Piece

Line Out

The focus of lineouts has moved away from throwing to movement and deception. Though the hooker will still remain an important part of the line out, a user will no longer have to find the sweet spot to accurately throw the ball in, this will come solely down to the hooker’s stats or trait. However, the user will still have to throw using the left joystick to time the throw at the apex of the jump.

Instead the focus will move to the other seven players and moving players around for deception.

Each team will have a pre-set number of forwards that will be default unless changed on the way into the lineout, this is done by pressing up or down on the D-Pad, for example five or seven man line outs.

Quick options are still available:

A - Front Pod
B - Middle Pod
Y - Back Pod
X - Quick front throw or over the top throw (depending on setting before the game in menu)

Users can press and hold the L1 button and press any button to stop players acting upon the requests. This is to stop, when users are playing two player and can hear when the other user is pressing the jump, therefore using deception.

While pressing R1 users can hit a button combo to deceive the other team with movement and dummy jumps.

For example:

R1 + B A - Fake middle, jump front.

R2 can also be used to utilise the different pre-set moves within the game. By pressing R2 and any single face button the pack will do a complicated pre set move that the user must then throw the ball into. There is no need for a sweet spot just to time the jump and throw correctly.

L2 can be selected before the ball is thrown to create a maul from any form of lineout.

The D-Pad in this instance still remains the option for set piece attacks, however there are forward oriented attacks with back moves as well from this option.


The scrum would be based around timing. For the full engagement instructions a player must hit a face button to respond to the referee instructions timing the final engagement to get a good hit and engagement.

For example, the user will have to:

Crouch - Y
Bind - B
Set - A

A well placed ‘A’ hit allows for a good engagement that could give an advantage in the next phase of the contest. However, a missed time engagement could result in a penalty or freekick.

The hooker will need to hook the ball after the scrum half puts the ball in.

Feed ball - X
Hook Ball - A

The next phase will be similar to previous games of hitting a timing bar to generate a push against the opposition, player stats will contribute to how big the ‘Sweet Spot’ is for each push. This will allow for better packs to have an advantage over others.

With the normal push option the user can employ the ‘Dark Arts’. Using the L2 and R2 they can lower or bore the other prop to gain advantage. The stats of the prop, or player trait, will dictate how much a player can do this before getting penalised at the scrum.

Further to this the user will have the traditional passing options, minus the forward pod, and have access to set piece moves from the D-Pad.

These options can be as follows:

L1 R1 - Pass Left and Right
L2 R2 - The Dark Arts

Face Button Options
Y - Scrum Half chip or bomb (holding in)
X + Directional - Number 8 pick and go and attempts to set up maul
A + Directional - Number 8 pick and go
B + Directional - Number 8 picks and passes to scrum half and the move

Back Moves

When in attack the user can access a range of set piece attacks from the D-Pad. These set piece moves can be edited in the pre game menu and can be created from the Creation Hub. Furthermore, certain teams will have exclusive set piece attacks that are unique to that team. For example, the Irish and Johnny Sexton loop and pass is only available to Leinster and Ireland.

The quickness that a team can prepare for an attack will be influenced by the players stats and traits, if any player has them.

There will be a total of eight moves that can be activated by pushing either once or twice on the D-Pad. A third press will cancel the move.



In career mode the player will have the option of turning on or off ‘Career Mode Storylines’. Users can also turn off individual storylines if not desired. In game injuries and other random events can always happen; however in this option storylines are created to add extra drama and tension to seasons. This reflects the real life nature of rugby and attempts to build the sporting drama.

The storyline includes:

Injury Crisis - A number of players are hit by short and long term injuries that the player must manage.

Star Players Injured - The highest rated players or main player makers sustain a long term injury that must be managed by the player.

Meet your Rival - Each team has dedicated rivals that will always play better when playing each other. In this mode these two teams are destined to meet in the final with drama being added through press releases and interviews in the official media partner, ‘Rugby Pass’.

Out of Form - The team is hit with a patch of poor form that results in a drop in player stats. The player must manage the situation.

Different managing options will include signing players, managing training workloads, quitting the role and so on.

Player Traits

Players based on skills can have traits that will allow them certain bonuses, advantages, and to be able to active mini-games that will have an impact on the wider game. These ‘Traits’ are broken into three separate classes, bronze, silver, and gold. This is to reflect players having the same ability but different players being able to perform it at different levels.

All traits are split into three levels of Gold, Silver and Bronze. This shows that there are players that have these abilities however to different levels. An international ‘Ball Carrier’ should be able to carry better than a non capped, but still recognised good, ball carrier.

Example Traits

Jackal - A player is able to activate a mini-game when in or close to a ruck to contest the ball. This is separate from a standard jackal opportunity.
If button combo is done incorrectly then a penalty is given against the jackal.
Can activate opportunity even after ruck is won at attacking team.

Ball Carrier - A player is able to activate a mini game to carry the ball past the gain line.
This is performed by a timing bar. The user must stop the marker inside the zone. The level of the trait will dictate the size of the bar. If missed a penalty is given against the rucker.

Big Hitter - If the correct face button is matched to the attacker’s manoeuvre option then a big hit tackle is completed that create a dominant tackle for the defender, creating slow ball and turnover opportunities for the defending team.

Rucker - A player is able to activate a mini game to efficiently clear out a ruck.

This is performed by a timing bar. The user must stop the marker inside the zone. The level of the trait will dictate the size of the bar. If missed a penalty is given against the rucker.
In general a player with the trait will have a high ruck skill and will fill the ruck metre quickly. If the ruck is not contested they will win the ball themselves.|

Playable Legends

As incentive for users and for replay ability there will be a host of players that can be unlocked to be used in general play. Through the options these legends can also be used in Career Mode and other formats.

The unlockable can be found in a range of modes including Career Mode and Challenge Mode where players can re-enact certain moments to unlock the players.

For example, a user, in Challenge Mode, can play as Ireland vs France but at centre is Brian O’Driscoll, rather than the standard current Irish centre. Like the 2000 Six Nations Championship the user must play France in Stade de France and score three tries with Brian O’Driscoll. This will allow the user to unlock this legendary player to play with in Leinster and Ireland in standard game modes and, optionally, in career mode.

Example Legend List:

Jonny Wilkinson
Gareth Edwards
David Campese
Martin Johnson
Gary Teichmann
Brian O’Driscoll
Jonah Lomu
Dan Carter

Game Modes

Test Match - Take control of a team against the computer or other players. All teams are an option.
Tournament & Tour Mode - Select any team in any tournament and play that stand alone tournament or tour.

This includes the unique Barbarian Tour mode and Lions tour.

See below for details.

Career Mode - Build your avatar and start a coaching career. Work from the bottom up in realistic mode, or select any team in the arcade more. All similar game options are available.

Be a Pro - Create your avatar and start in the academy of your selected team working up as an individual player to international honours.|

Franchise Mode - Tasked with creating a brand new team in a development territory. Create the logo, roster, and much more (also in Career mode)

Once won it opens the option to create a team in any league and country.

Creation Hub - Create a player, team, league and set piece and share it on the fan hub with full customisation and detailed builder for players, logos, stadiums and running moves.

Challenge Mode - Unlock a series of legendary players by completing challenges with the player or team.

This can range from one of matches or needing to win a tournament.|

Learning the Laws - A video library which explains the laws of rugby and how the game works, both in real life and within the actual game.

This will allow for the game to reach a new audience and spread the understanding and love of rugby.

Coaching Roles within career mode

Director of Rugby - The user will be in charge of all aspects of the team including stadium upgrades, sponsorship and backroom staff.

This is a micro management aspect to the game that includes standard coaching but the wider aspects of running a team.
Head Coach - Running of the team from a coaching point of view and not taking care of the facilities or wider aspects of running the club.

Will still organise training structure, starting team and recruitment.

Training can be auto managed.
Forward Coach - Coach that will only take control of the forwards during the game and will be responsible for only that aspect of training, i.e. set pieces.|

Back Coach - Coach that will only take control of the backs during the game and will be responsible for only that aspect of training, i.e. set pieces.

Academy Coach - Coach that will only take control of the academy team in a well established team. Will do all the same roles of the Head Coach but can learn how to manage and take risks without the fear of losing their job.

Special Coaching Roles

International Head Coach - This role can be held as a dual with a Tier 2 or Tier 3 Nation.

However, if the team is ranked in the top 20 then the coach can only coach that nation.

As the coach they have the freedom to go to any game once a week and control a team but only controlling qualified players. In game the commenters will note, and show created avatar, that the international coach is in attendance.

For example, as Ireland’s head coach a user can go to any of the Irish provinces to control the players and see if they should be selected. However, they can only play as Irish Qualified Players.

After this the user can call in players to the camp and run a series of drills and practice games and select the best players.

If the storyline of ‘Out of Form’ is running the user may be forced to drop a top star and run the risk of being hailed as a hero or failure for dropping the player.

This can be auto managed if the user decides upon it.
Lions & Tour Coach - Selected to ensemble a team and to win a tour based on what team has been selected. Can happen as a stand alone option or in Career Mode.

Barbarian Head Coach - This is a unique role as this can be held by any manager managing any team.

A user can select from a team sheet of potential call ups and request specific players from clubs to join.

The goal of this game mode is to win the game however it must be done while filling the ‘Excitement Bar’. This is done by keeping the game close and scoring exciting tries. Interception tries and regular big hits will fill the excitement bar. Other actions like not kicking for points and playing expansive rugby will also fill the bar.

There are also unique set plays and options from tap and go that can be used by the user to entertain the crowd.|


The first priority of the game is to get World Rugby involved as a partner. Giving access to rights and support in getting other licences. The aim of the game is to entertain current fans but also to engage new fans. The game would need access to the extensive World Rugby tape library for promotional reasons and to create videos explaining the laws of the game, as seen in the menu options in ‘Learn the Laws.’

Financial support would be welcomed but a bigger asset would be World Rugby related licences, like Rugby World Cup, and video library.


All teams are split into three levels of Gold, Silver and Bronze Stars. This is to reflect how some teams can beat any other team within their colour but some teams will have an advantage over others.

For example, the top three teams in the world would be Five Star Gold to show how they can beat each other at any time. However, a team like Georgia would be a Five Star Silver team as they dominate Tier Two and could beat lower ranked Gold Star teams.


Rugby World Cup
Six Nations
Rugby Championship
Rugby Europe
Pacific Nations Cup
Americas Rugby Championship
Asian Rugby Championship
Total 38

Under 20 World Cup
HSBC World 7s Series

British & Irish Lions
French Barbarians
World XV
All Americans

Europe Club
European Champions Cup
European Challenge Cup
Rugby Europe Super Cup
Celtic Cup - 4 Irish, Welsh & Scottish Club teams
English Premiership
English Championship
Top 14
Pro D2
Italian Super 10
Russian Professional League
Romanian Superliga
Georgian Didi 10

Major League Rugby
Super Rugby Americas (SLAR)

Japan Rugby League One
Asian Grand League

Super Rugby
New Zealand NPC
South Africa Currie Cup
Australia Shute Shield (Prefer NRC)

Rugby World Cup
Women’s Six Nations
Quad Nations

English Premier 15s
Super W
Super Rugby Aupiki

Total Teams 319