Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer insists the British game is in a strong position, despite the disastrous Lions tour.
The Lions lost four games out of four on their tour of the southern hemisphere this autumn – one to Tonga, two against New Zealand and one in Papua New Guinea.
But Rimmer insists the British game is still at the top with the southern hemisphere nations.
He said: “It hurts when we lose and it hurts the players. It didn’t go as planned on the field but many other things went very well.
“It was nice to speak to people about the importance of the World Cup to the squads and their part to be played in the tournament.
“In addition to that, we did some work with the international board and congress. It’s not as if the Australians, Tongans and others are way out ahead of us in their thinking.
“I absolutely believe we have a team that can compete at that level and win a World Cup and that’s good for us.
“I go back to the work we’ve done with the International Rugby League: we’re there to grow nations strengths and we can’t complain when that happens.”