With the mid-year international break in the rear view mirror and the Rugby Championship right around the corner, now seems like a good time assess the state of the world game.

Which is exactly what British website Wales Online has done, ranking the 30 best players in the world right now.

The website's rugby writers put their heads together and came up with the comprehensive list, taking into account the rise and fall of certain players' form during the Lions' recent drawn series against the All Blacks.

Despite the disappointment of that result for the world champions, the All Blacks lead the way on the rankings, with 10 of the 30 players counting New Zealand as home.


Beauden Barrett, crowned last year as the World Rugby player of year, has held on to the top spot despite an uneven series, with Wales Online stating, "Barrett didn't manage to quite steal the show, but still provided enough moments of individual brilliance to underline his status as the game's most exciting talent.

"His goal-kicking was the Achilles heel, but he is the first name down on anybody's world XV and gets our vote as the best in the business."

All Blacks captain Kieran Read takes the second spot while English lock Maro Itoje is the big mover after the Lions series, coming in at third. "Lived up to the hype against the All Blacks - athletic, dynamic, intelligent and mature way beyond his years," wrote Wales Online. "Tipped as the game's next millionaire player. The Saracens lock has the rugby world at his feet."

Ben Smith and Brodie Retallick round out a rather Kiwi-looking top five, while Dane Coles also earns a spot in the top 10 despite concussion preventing him from taking the pitch against the Lions.

The full list features nine players who wore the red Lions jumper, with the rankings rounded out by four Australians, two Argentinians, two Frenchman, one Italian, one Fijian and just a solitary South African.

The full list:

1. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
2. Kieran Read (New Zealand)
3. Maro Itoje (England)
4. Ben Smith (New Zealand)
5. Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
6. Dane Coles (New Zealand)
7. Owen Farrell (England)
8. Jonathan Davies (Wales)
9. Israel Folau (Australia)
10. Conor Murray (Ireland)
11. Billy Vunipola (England)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand)
13. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
14. Aaron Smith (New Zealand)
15. Sergio Parisse (Italy)
16. Leone Nakarawa (Fiji)
17. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)
18. Facundo Isa (Argentina)
19. Bernard Foley (Australia)
20. Sam Cane (New Zealand)
21. Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)
22. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
23. Michael Hooper (Australia)
24. Kurtley Beale (Australia)
25. Louis Picamoles (France)
26. Agustin Creevy (Argentina)
27. Wesley Fofana (France)
28. Israel Dagg (New Zealand)
29. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
30. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)