Papua New Guinea, who will host a group in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, were the big winners after the southern hemisphere international weekend, moving up three places to eleventh in the new world rankings.
The Kumuls beat seventh-ranked Fiji 24-22 and the impact has been highly significant according to PNGRFL chairman, Sandis Tsaka. “Going into the 2000 World Cup, PNG was ranked in fourth place behind heavyweights Australia, New Zealand and England. However, since then we had dropped to 14th place in 2015.
“The win against Fiji last month was our first in an overseas match in 16 years and followed a home win over Tonga in 2014 and a close loss to the Bati in 2015.
Tsaka continued: “The strengthening and growth of our domestic rugby league programmes and the introduction of the SP Hunters into the Intrust Queensland Cup three years ago has opened up international pathways for more of our elite players. “The growth and success of such initiatives will make us more competitive in international rugby league.
“We will seek to engage in more international and Test matches as a lead up to the 2017 World Cup to help prepare and build a good quality and competitive Kumul team for the tournament.” Despite narrow defeat to Samoa, Tonga also moved up a place in the rankings, to 15th.
The three leading nations, New Zealand, Australia and England, will be fighting for top spot in the autumn Four Nations series to be held in England, Scotland also taking part.
RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD RANKINGS
1. New Zealand
19. Cook Islands
29. Czech Republic
31. South Africa
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Downer Rugby League 9s World Cup
- PNG Kumuls 0 Australia 26
- PNG Kumuls 18 New Zealand Kiwis 18
- PNG Kumuls 23 USA Tomahawks 10
Pacific Test Results
201 9 - PNG Kumuls 28 Great Britain Lions 10
2019 - Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 20
2019 - PNG Kumls 6 Samoa 24
2018 - PNG Kumuls 26 Fiji Bati 14
2017 - PNG Kumuls 32 Cook Islands 22
2016 - PNG Kumuls 24 Fiji Bati 22
2015- Fiji Bati 22 PNG Kumuls 22
World Cup Results
Round 1 : PNG Kumuls 50 Wales 6
Round 2: PNG Kumuls 14 Ireland 6
Round 3 PNG Kumuls 64 USA 0
Quarter Finals : PNG Kumuls 6 England 36