The Rugby League World Rankings have been updated prior to the kick-off of the 15th World Cup in Melbourne on Friday.
Two of the participants, Lebanon – up three places to 18th and Italy – who rise two to 12th – are amongst the main movers since May; along with the Netherlands, Hungary and Vanuatu.
Cedars head coach Brad Fittler commented: “It’s really encouraging news on the verge of the tournament, to hear that we are rising in the rankings. It’s a great boost as we go into our group games with Australia, England and France and a further yardstick to measure ourselves by – it gives us encouragement to aim even higher and break into the top ten.”
Results in the World Cup could see Australia, co-hosts New Zealand or even England – if they win the World Cup for the first time since 1972 and the Antipodens both have poor tournaments – end the campaign as the number one ranked nation.
Should they make the quarter finals, Scotland will most-likely retain their high spot of fourth gained after their showing last year’s Four Nations tournament.
The biggest movement is expected to be between positions six and 12 which gives every group game added importance, allied to the fact that the eight quarter finalists in 2017 will automatically qualify for the 2021 World Cup in England, which will be boosted to 16 nations.
Full rankings are below:
2. New Zealand
24. Cook Islands
26. Czech Republic
33. South Africa
38. Solomon Islands
39. El Salvador