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Latest World Rankings announced

For the first time since the rugby league world rankings were introduced, Australia’s position at the head of them is under threat.

Should New Zealand – who beat the Kangaroos in the recent Four Nations final in Christchurch to pick up their first-ever trophy on home soil – defeat the Green and Gold’s in next year’s Anzac Test and England on their three match autumn tour, they will go into top spot.

The Anzac encounter has added significance in 2015 as it will commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign.

“We’re very pleased with our progress this year and the Four Nations success was definitely a positive step forward,” said New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney.

“But we face some big challenges in the next 12 months – the Anzac Test against Australia and a tour of England – so we need to have to focus on maintaining and improving our levels of performance.

“If we can continue this development towards 2017, we will put ourselves in a great position to challenge for the 2017 World Cup title, which is our ultimate goal.”

Among the other notable changes in the rankings, Samoa – after their superb performances in the Four Nations – are clearly in fourth, having been 8th after the 2013 World Cup, Serbia have made great progress moving from 17th this time last year to 13th now, Canada are up to 14th from 16th and Scotland, who picked up their inaugural trophy when winning the 2014 European Championships, have overtaken Wales to move into the top eight.

Samoa coach Matt Parish commented: “I am very proud of our efforts over the past 12 months and it is a just reward for the time and effort put in by the players and management.

“I have no doubt that with the team I have on board now and more international games, that Samoa can beat one of the top three nations in the next three years, provided we get the necessary support.”

His Serbian counterpart, Marko Janković, noted: “We are proud of our five full international Tests and additional six domestic representative matches played in 2014.

“What we always highlight is that almost all of the players who represented us on the international stage were from within our domestic competition.”

The World Rankings are calculated using a formula which takes into account not just the result but also the ranking place of the opponent. While covering results over a five-year period, it also adds greater weight to more recent fixtures.

Only fixtures that are recognised as being of Test status count towards the rankings. There have been several representative games played this year – involving nations such as Thailand, Philippines and Bosnia Herzegovina – which do not count but are part of a sanctioned process for possible future listing.

RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD RANKINGS (Previous ranking in brackets)
1) Australia (1)
2) New Zealand (2)
3) England (3)
4) Samoa (7)
5) France (4)
6) Fiji (5)
7) Ireland (10)
8) Scotland (11)
9) Wales (6)
10) USA (9)
11) PNG (8)
12) Italy (12)
13) Serbia (17)
14) Canada (16)
15) Russia (14)
16) Tonga (13)
17) Cook Islands (15)
18) Germany (18)
19) Norway (19)
20) Ukraine (20)
21) Lebanon (21)
22) Belgium (22)
23) Greece (26)
24) Malta (23)
25) Netherlands (25)
26) Denmark (27)
27) Jamaica (24)
28) Spain (28)
29) Czech Republic (30)
30) Sweden (32)
31) South Africa (29)
32) Hungary (33)
33) Latvia (31)
34) Morocco (34)

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