Kukis climb spot in league ranks

Tuesday May 16, 2017 Written by Published in League

Cook Islands’ strong performance against the Papua New Guinea Kumuls in the Pacific Test earlier this month has helped improve the ranking of the national rugby league side by a spot.


The Kukis replaced Czech Republic in 24th spot in the latest Rugby League International Federation rankings, despite their 22-32 loss to the Kumuls in Sydney.

The Cook Islands, which were not part of the Pacific Test previously, made their debut this year and took the much experienced Kumuls down to the wire in a tough clash.

Cook Islands Rugby League Association president Charles Carlson said the Kumuls have been playing in the Pacific Cup every year as well as playing the Australian A which is an Australian Kangaroos development side, annually.

“So they are very well prepared coming into this test match against the Cook Islands and win by 10 points,” Carlson said.

“The Pacific Test has been going for four years now and this is the first time Cook Islands participated.

“We proved on the day that we can match these teams at that international level and we can only get better by playing more international matches.”

The RLIF rankings have been updated following the mid-season tests with Australia retaining their top ranking after their 30-12 ANZAC Test victory over New Zealand.

The Kiwis are placed second followed by England on third place. Samoa is the top ranked Pacific team on fifth spot.

Carlson said he does not think the current ranking system was a true indication of the world ranking for countries as it was based on the number of games the teams played.

“Hence the reason you see some nations ranking much higher than most of the Pacific teams like Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and the Cook Islands,” he said.

“You put these Pacific teams against these countries that are ahead in world ranking apart from the top three, they will get hammered by the Pacific teams.

“The only true indicator for world ranking is really qualifying for the World Cup and where you are positioned after the World Cup.”

Meanwhile Carlson is hoping to use matches such as the Pacific Test to prepare the national side for the 2021 World Cup qualification.

The Kukis failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup after losing the qualifiers to Tonga last year.

“These sort of Test matches therefore are critical to keep improving on our games as we prepare for the next World Cup qualifying – that is the goal,” he said.

“The Pacific pool is the toughest pool to qualify for the World Cup so we wait for the outcome of the World Cup 2017 to see who we play against in the Pacific region to qualify for the next World Cup 2021.”

RLIF Rankings

1.      Australia, 2. New Zealand, 3. England, 4. Scotland, 5. Samoa, 6. France, 7. Ireland, 8. Fiji, 9. Wales, 10. United States, 11. Tonga, 12. Serbia, 13. Canada, 14. Italy, 15. Papua New Guinea, 16. Russia, 17. Jamaica, 18. Belgium, 19. Malta, 20. Spain, 21. Lebanon, 22. Ukraine, 23. Germany, 24. Cook Islands, 25. Czech Republic, 26. Norway, 27. Denmark, 28. Greece, 29. Sweden, 30. Netherlands, 31. Niue, 32. South Africa, 33. Hungary, 34. Philippines, 35. Thailand, 36. Chile, 37. Vanuatu,


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