The IRL rankings have been updated after the recent series of international fixtures and will be the final positions for each nation heading into the World Cup in England later this year, with several notable changes for European Rugby League members.
The top places are unchanged, with New Zealand retaining top spot in the Men’s rankings, Australia holding on to the No.1 women’s ranking and France still being the highest ranked Wheelchair team.
However, there has been some significant movement just below the top teams, with Tonga now ahead of England and Australia in the men’s rankings after their impressive performance in the mid-season.
Wales are the big movers among the Northern Hemisphere nations, climbing seven places from 23rd to 16th in the Men’s rankings after their first Test since 2019, while Serbia is now ranked eighth after winning last year’s Euro B Championships.
France dropped from seventh to ninth position and Scotland from 11th to 15th – just ahead of 16th placed Wales, who have risen from 23rd spot.
Among the other big movers are Malta (up from 15th to 10th), Germany (29th to 25th), South Africa (38th to 30th) after recent Test activity whilst Montenegro also join the rankings for the first time.
In the women’s rankings, little now separates Australia, New Zealand and England after recent Test wins by the Kiwi Ferns against Tonga and England’s defeat of France.
Wales have climbed from 13th place to seventh after bouncing back from a 32-6 loss to England in June to beat Italy 60-0, whilst USA now appears on the rankings for the first time following their early season test versus Canada.
England have also narrowed the gap in the wheelchair rankings after their recent win against France
France are still the No.1 ranked Wheelchair team, but England and Wales are narrowing the gap after recent results.
England beat France 62-48 in June, while Wales enjoyed an 64-22 win against Ireland and defeated Scotland 116-6.
Ireland has also twice beaten Scotland this year to claim fourth spot from Australia, who have dropped to seventh as their last Test was a loss to England in October, 2019.
The IRL World Rankings are determined by the following criteria:
- Teams are awarded ranking points each time they play a sanctioned international fixture;
- Result and margin: The bigger the win, the more points the winning team receives and the fewer points are awarded to the loser;
- Strength of opponent: The higher the ranking of the opponent the greater the weighting of the result.
- Importance of the match: Games in official competition are weighted higher than bi-lateral arranged games. Rugby League World Cup games carry the greatest weighting, and;
- More recent games are weighted higher than older games and only games since the 2017 World Cup are considered.
- The rankings reward teams who are active and win games.