International Rugby League world rankings updated: England 3rd & Papua New Guinea 6th as Cook Islands into top 10

Ben Olawumi
England, Jack Welsby, Papua New Guinea, Edwin Ipape, Cook Islands

England, Papua New Guinea & the Cook Islands are now all in the top 10 of the men's International Rugby League rankings - Alamy

The International Rugby League world rankings have been updated as of December 2023, with England 3rd, Papua New Guinea 6th and the Cook Islands into the top 10 in the men’s game.

Nations are awarded points by the IRL each time they play a sanctioned international fixture, awarded based upon the following criteria.

  • 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.
  • 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.

International Rugby League world rankings updated: England 3rd & Papua New Guinea 6th as Cook Islands move into top 10

Shaun Wane’s England move up to 3rd having achieved a whitewash in the autumn test series with a 3-0 win against Tonga, beating Kristian Woolf’s side in St Helens, Huddersfield and Leeds.

They leapfrog Samoa, who they could still face in the autumn of 2024, after Ben Gardiner’s side were hammered by both Australia and New Zealand at the Pacific Championships.

The Kiwis were crowned champions of the inaugural instalment of those Championships, inflicting a record-breaking 30-0 defeat on world champions Australia in the final, their biggest loss in 115 years. Despite that, the Kangaroos remain top of the tree this Christmas, with New Zealand still second.

Elsewhere, the Cook Islands have made it into the top 10 for the end of 2023, overtaking Serbia, who were beaten heavily by both France and the Netherlands.

Serbia had risen from 15th up into the top 10 earlier this year but now sit 11th. Malta (14th), Ukraine (20th), the Philippines (23rd), Poland (24th) and the USA (33rd) are also among the nations to have risen substantially.

The full IRL men’s world rankings can be seen below.

International Rugby League world rankings – Men’s

1. Australia

2. New Zealand

3. England

4. Samoa

5. Tonga

6. Papua New Guinea

7. Fiji

8. France

9. Lebanon

10. Cook Islands

11. Serbia

12. Netherlands

13. Italy

14. Malta

15. Greece

16. Ireland

17. Wales

18. Jamaica

19. Scotland

20. Ukraine

21. Czech Republic

22. Germany

23. Phillipines

24. Poland

25. South Africa

26. Chile

27. Kenya

28. Norway

29. Nigeria

30. Ghana

31. Brazil

32. Turkey

33. USA

34. Bulgaria

35. Cameroon

36. Montenegro

37. Spain

38. Japan

39. Albania

40. Colombia

41. El Salvador

42. North Macedonia

43. Morocco

44. Sweden

45. Bosnia and Herzegovina

46. Canada

47. Niue

48. Solomon Islands

49. Belgium

50. Hungary

51. Vanuatu

52. Argentina

53. Denmark

54. Latvia

55. Estonia

International Rugby League world rankings – Women’s

The top three in the women‘s rankings looks exactly the same as in the men’s, with Australia top, New Zealand 2nd, and England sat 3rd. That’s despite the Kiwi Ferns inflicting a first defeat on the Jillaroos since 2016.

PNG are up to fourth, while Tonga sit 13th. The USA have also enjoyed success in terms of the rankings – as shown in full below – with a rise to 16th having gone up against both Jamaica and Canada this year.

1. Australia

2. New Zealand

3. England

4. Papua New Guinea

5. France

6. Cook Islands

7. Canada

8. Wales

9. Ireland

10. Greece

11. Brazil

12. Serbia

13. Tonga

14. Phillipines

15. Italy

16. USA

17. Turkey

18. Netherlands

19. Malta

20. Samoa

21. Fiji

22. Jamaica

23. Nigeria

24. Kenya

25. Ghana

26. Uganda

27. Lebanon

28. Argentina

International Rugby League world rankings – Wheelchair

In the wheelchair rankings, Tom Coyd’s England remain top of the ladder, securing the #1 spot in back-to-back years for the first time ever having won last year’s World Cup final against France.

This year, Coyd’s side were beaten by the French in Leeds, but responded with a 34-18 triumph in Marseille, that just the second time an England Wheelchair team have ever won a game in France, the previous one coming in 2019.

The wheelchair rankings in full are as follows:

1. England

2. France

3. Wales

4. Australia

5. Ireland

6. Scotland

7. Spain

8. USA

9. Italy

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