World Rankings Announcement: Review

World international rankings are a key note in any major sport and rugby league is no different. With any release of international status, there is some controversy and the RLIF standings are no different, despite reportedly using a “statistically-weighed reflection on results over the past five years”. The RLIF’s official article is available here.

If you haven’t yet seen, the men’s rankings are as followed:
Nation.                          Previous
1 Australia                     1
2 New Zealand             2
3 England                      3
4 Tonga                          11
5 Fiji                                7
6 Samoa                         5
7 Scotland                     4
8 France                        6                
9 Lebanon                    18             
10 PNG                           16
11 Ireland .                    8
12 Wales                        9
13 Italy                           12
14 USA                           10
15 Jamaica                   13
16 Serbia                       14
17 Canada                     15
18 Malta                        17
19 Russia                      19
20 Belgium                  20
21 Spain                        21
22 Norway                   22
23 Greece                     23
24 Philippines            34
25 Ukraine                   25
26 Czech Republic    26
27 Netherlands           27
28 Germany                 28
29 Hungary                  29
30 Cook Islands         24
31 Sweden                    30
32 Chile                         37
33 Niue                          31
34 Denmark                32
35 South Africa          33
36 Vanuatu                  35
37 El Salvador            39
38 Thailand                 36
39 Argentina                –
40 Colombia                 –
41 Japan                         –
42 Solomon Islands 38
43 Brazil                         –
44 Uruguay                  40
45 Hong Kong               –
46 Bulgaria                  41
47 Latvia                       42
48 Morocco                  43

Firstly, we look at some of the teams below the top 14. Naturally, teams that weren’t involved in this years world cup:

Chile;
Chile were big movers after triumph in the first South American international competition for the 13-a-side game. This saw them sore to 32nd in the standings, a position they will seek to improve as World cup qualifiers approach.

Norway;
Although non-movers, after a impressive domestic campaign and an undefeated test team lead the way for a successful season for the country, they will remain focused and look to move up the ladder with a world cup in 2025 a real possibility.

Philippines;
Philippines jumped up 10 places after their exploits in the Asia cup in 2013 and 2014, as well as, an impressive victory over Serbia in 2016.

 

Small movers included Jamaica and Canada who are hot on the heels of the USA to become the top nation in North America.

 

Now we look at the nations that competed in the world cup and thus make up the top 14;

Australia once again are the top nation in the world after another successful world cup campaign.
England (3rd) will be hot on the tails of New Zealand (2nd) after the latter failed to reach the semi-final’s of the world cup. With a Baskerville Shield available next summer, England will be looking to get one step closer to the Green and Gold.

USA, Italy, Wales and Ireland all drop places after being unable to escape the group stages of the world cup.

Papua New Guinea gain six places and France drop two after successful and disappointing world cup campaigns respectively.

Lebanon;
After going two successive world cup qualifying campaigns undefeated, Lebanon finally reap their rewards after an impressive world cup display that left them a try away from a semi-final appearance. nine places up from 18th.

Samoa Vs. Scotland;
Samoa move to 6th and Scotland 7th after torrid campaigns for the two national sides. Both were left bruised by the size and strength of the Kiwi’s and the Tongan’s in the group stages but what is most interesting is Samoa’s jump over Scotland in the table despite not recording a victory in the World Cup, leaving one to assume the mere volume of test matches that Samoa have played over the last five years to be the difference between the two sides.

Tonga Vs. Fiji;
Tonga move up to 4th after a campaign that got the world excited. The headline act before the world cup started got everybody bouncing after their victory against New Zealand left them as top seed in Group B. The Fijians should count themselves unlucky not to be sitting amongst the top 4 themselves after also beating the Kiwi’s and finding themselves in their 3rd semi-final in successive tournaments. It is clear that both these teams will be looking to join the international elite in the seasons to come.

 

The Women’s inaugural rankings are as Followed;

Australian Jillaroos player Ruan Sims runs with the ball.
Australian Jillaroos player Ruan Sims runs with the ball.

   Nation
1 Australia Women
2 New Zealand Women
3 England Women
4 Canada Women
5 Cook Islands Women
6 Papua New Guinea Women
7 France Women
8 Italy Women
9 Lebanon Women

 

It is exciting to see an official chart for Women’s international rugby league and the Jillaroos rightly sit top of the podium after victory in the Women’s Rugby League World Cup.

Cook Islands are unfortunate to sit 5th after an impressive group stage victory over England saw them only miss out on the semi-finals on points difference. With cross group fixtures taking place, and the Cook Islands finding the pre-tournament draw to be less favourable to them, this is definitely an area that needs to be looked at before the next major competition.

France, Italy and Lebanon will be looking to break into the group of 6 that made it to the World Cup this time round.