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Thursday 14 July 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Ranking system not a true reflection of status, says Carlson
Cook Islands players celebrate after scoring a try against Samoa last month. NRL/22071312

Cook Islands rugby league men’s side has jumped two places to 20 in the latest international rankings but the head of the sport’s governing body here says the ranking systems adopted by the international federation ‘is not a true reflection of a nation’s status’.

Despite losing to Samoa 12-42 in the June Pacific Test, the Kukis improved their international ranking by two spots.

The Tony Iro-coached side is now placed 20th – a spot above Jamaica, who is the lowest placed nation competing in the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.

In the women’s international rankings, the national side lost five places, dropping down to 12.

According to the International Rugby League, world rankings are based upon results over the past four years of competition. They are expressed as a percentage of the Number 1 ranked nation (i.e. the number 1 ranked nation is 100 - the other nations are expressed as a percentage).

Cook Islands men’s side has amassed 6.04 per cent while the women are on 13 per cent.

Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said: “I have always opposed to this ranking system which is not a true reflection of a nations status. This is based on the number of sanctioned international games that they play and not every nation gets that opportunity because of the enormous cost to host an international game.”

“Secondly it doesn’t qualify whether you are tier 1 nation, tier 2 nation or tier 3 nation. Under this system, a tier 3 nation can actually be ranked higher than a tier 2 nation. Can you imagine these tier 3 nations ranked high than the Cooks actually play a full strength Cook Islands side – be a cricket score!

“Finally, if these nations are ranked higher than the Cooks, why aren’t they in the World Cup?”

Carlson said the ranking system should start from the World Cup – “number one to number 16 and the rest follows”.

“If you are not participating in the World Cup than you shouldn’t be ranked higher than those who qualified for WC.”

The Official International Rugby League (IRL) World Rankings are calculated on each nation’s performance over the current season and the three preceding seasons, the international body said.

Points are awarded to each team for each match based on:

  • The result of the match i.e. win, lose or draw
  • The margin of victory (or defeat) – the larger the winning margin the greater the value to the rankings
  • The relative strength of opposition faced - if you play a higher ranked team that is of greater value than playing a lower ranked team
  • The date of the match – more recent matches are weighted more heavily - a result in the most recent 2 years is worth double a result 3 years ago and 4 times a result that is 4 years old
  • The importance of the match - World Cup matches are ranked top followed in order by World Cup Qualifiers, Regional Championships and one-off international matches

The points are then used to create the Official World Rankings by ordering the teams by virtue of the points gained over the four-year period.

Only officially sanctioned matches played at senior level between two approved members are considered as part of the rankings.