New Zealand take number one position in latest International Rugby League World Rankings

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18th, November 2019

New Zealand take number one position in International Rugby League world rankings

The New Zealand Kiwis have moved to number one in the International Rugby League world rankings which have been announced after the conclusion of the 2019 international programme.

The Kiwis have built on their 2018 victories over Australia and England and their recent successes against Great Britain and Tonga to take the number one position.

Tonga remain in fourth spot but their historic victory over the second-placed Kangaroos has meant that they close the gap on England who now sit in third place.

New Zealand coach, Michael Maguire said “This is a great honour and it is good to be recognised but we know that the Kangaroos hold the silverware and that is our ultimate ambition.

“The International Rugby League Oceania Cup is a fantastic development for the Kiwis and the nations in this region. It provides a meaningful competition and is a real focus for our international programme.”

Papua New Guinea is one of the big movers in both the men’s and women’s rankings. The men have been recognised for their progress in the past 12 months as they move from 10th to 6th place and in the women’s section, from 6th place to 4th.

Kumuls head coach, Michael Marum sees the rise up the rankings as a natural part of their journey saying: “The PNG Kumuls going from 10th spot to 6th spot is really good for us. We can only go higher with more international fixtures.”

Orchids coach, Bagelo Solien commented:

“Going up two spots from 6th to 4th is pleasing after two test matches and we can only get better from here. It is good for the Women’s game nationally and internationally”

Commenting on the latest rankings, International Rugby League chief executive officer, Nigel Wood said:

“Firstly, I would like to congratulate New Zealand on achieving their number one position. It is fully deserved based upon their recent excellent performances with 4 wins from their last 5 international games.

“Tonga has possibly been the story of the recent internationals and they deserve all the plaudits that they have received. They have certainly cemented their place as a genuine top four-nation and, along with other Pacific nations, throws the competition wide open for Rugby League World Cup 2021.”

Latest Rankings November 2019

Men

  1. New Zealand +3
  2. Australia -1
  3. England – 1
  4. Tonga =
  5. Fiji =
  6. PNG +4
  7. Samoa =
  8. France -2
  9. Scotland -1
  10. Lebanon -1
  11. Greece =5
  12. Ireland =
  13. Italy +1
  14. Wales -3
  15. Serbia +4
  16. Malta +1
  17. Norway +1
  18. USA -3
  19. Poland +4
  20. Jamaica -7
  21. Hungary -1
  22. Czech Republic -3
  23. Cook Islands +5
  24. Turkey +7
  25. Netherlands -1
  26. Spain +4
  27. Canada -6
  28. Nigeria New
  29. Solomon Islands -2
  30. Sweden +10
  31. Germany +4
  32. Chile +1
  33. Ghana New
  34. Morocco +16
  35. Vanuatu -3
  36. South Africa =
  37. Russia – 8
  38. Cameroon New
  39. Ukraine -2
  40. Colombia +1
  41. Brazil +4
  42. Belgium =
  43. Denmark +4
  44. Bulgaria +4
  45. Latvia +4

Women

  1. Australia =
  2. New Zealand =
  3. England =
  4. Papua New Guinea +2
  5. Canada -1
  6. France -1
  7. Cook Islands -2
  8. Italy =
  9. Serbia New
  10. Fiji New
  11. Turkey New
  12. Samoa New
  13. Brazil New
  14. Lebanon -6

For PR and media requests please contact:

Niel Wood
Media@intrl.sport

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Cook Islands reaction to Rugby League World Cup qualification

Cook Islands head coach Tony Iro was a relieved man after his side claimed the 16th and final qualifying berth for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England, following a 38-16 win over the United States at the University of North Florida Ground in Jacksonville.

“It was exactly what we expected, a tough contest,” he said. “The score line flattered us at the end – it certainly wasn’t 18 points between the teams – the USA played really well. We are looking forward to the future and coming to England for the World Cup in ’21.”

South Sydney’s Troy Dargan claimed two of his side’s seven tries, three coming in the final 10 minutes to inflate the margin of victory. The Rennie brothers, Vincent and Ruben, both crossed for the Kukis along with Brisbane veteran Alex Glenn and Warrington’s new signing Anthony Gelling; Tevin Arona with a 55 metres charge from the re-start to completing the scoring.

Hull’s Bareta Faraimo, playing in the centre, claimed eight of the USA’s points with a try and two goals in cold, misty conditions. St Helens’ back rower Dom Peyroux was sin binned for the Cooks in the 53rd minute for a dangerous tackle.

RFL is a trading name of The Rugby Football League Limited. This message and any attachments are strictly confidential and may contain legally privileged information.The contents of the transmission are intended for the named addressee(s) only. If you are not the addressee please do not read, print, store or re-transmit it or any attachments to it.Instead, please email it back to the sender and then immediately permanently delete it from your system. The views or opinions presented here are solely of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Rugby Football League Limited.The Rugby Football League Limited is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law). The Rugby Football League Limited is a company registered in England with company number 3845473. The Registered Office is Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. VAT No. 168 8110 49 UIT42524252

2021 Rugby League World Cup Qualifier Pool A – Ireland 25 Italy 4 – Report

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DATE: 10 November, 2019

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2021 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP QUALIFIER POOL A – IRELAND 25 ITALY 4 – Report

Ireland again kept their opponents to one try in a match played in teeming rain in Santry near Dublin, victory earning them a higher ranking in the main World Cup draw at the end of the month, both nations having already booked their passage to England in 2021.

Ireland head coach Stuart Littler noted: “We spoke before the tournament that the first objective was to qualify and then that we wanted to win the group, and put our best foot forward in building some momentum over the next two years leading up to the World Cup.

“We’ve got a young, exciting side that really didn’t look troubled today, irrespective of the weather. With James Mulvaney on debut, we had more domestic players than the rules required and are trying to build something.”

On a boggy pitch, Ireland got off to a flyer when skipper Bob Beswick cut up the middle and an inside pass gave prop Pat Moran the opportunity to open the scoring.

Roland Podesta converted but from the restart Ireland knocked on and Italy utilised the greasy conditions to grubber through for excellent hooker Joseph Tramantana to dive on the ball, Jack Campagnolo wide with the conversion attempt.

Beswick was again the provider, this time for George King going over low between the posts and, when Italy kicked out on the full from the resumption, Joe Keyes sent Moran barrelling through for his second try.

Not surprisingly as the rain worsened, both sides struggled to hold the ball and gave away penalties, the hosts having a further try disallowed for a forward pass, Ethan Ryan then gaining a goal line drop out but without reward.

With conditions worsening at the start of the second half and possession a premium in the wet, the Wolfhounds forced a second drop out but knocked on from it.

Italy had a god spell but that was undone in the 52nd minute when captain Brendan Santi was sin binned for dissent, Ireland losing the ball over the line as they tried to capitalise, nor benefitting from a Keyes 40/20.

Late on, the hosts were awarded a penalty in front of the posts for holding down but chose to run the ball spilling a wide pass, however, from the scrum the Azzurri put the ball behind Emanuele Passera and Gregg McNally pounced to register the first score of the second half.

Podesta landed a superb conversion from wide out, making it 11 successful kicks in succession during the qualifiers.

In the final stages, Ireland worked down the pitch and Keyes added a field goal to embellish the win.

“We took this as seriously as the Spanish game, whether we’d qualified or not,” Italy head coach Leo Epifania said. “We set a standard for ourselves and it was another courageous defensive effort.”

In the curtain raiser, an Ireland Clubs XIII were defeated 26-14 by the England Community Lions U23s.

Picture credit: Mark Millward.

IRELAND 25

Ethan Ryan, Matty Coade, Zac McComb, James Bentley, Roland Podesta, Gregg McNally, Joe Keyes, Liam Byrne, Bob Beswick, Pat Moran, Frankie Halton, Tyrone McCarthy, George King

Subs: James Mulvaney, Ronan Michael, Danny Bridge, Michael Ward

Tries: Moran (3, 15), King (11), McNally (74)

Goals: Podesta 4

F/goal: Keyes

ITALY 4

Samuel Dolores, Emanuele Passera, Ethan Natali, Rinaldo Palumbo, Richard Lepori, Gus Garzaniti, Jack Campagnolo, Alec Susino, Joseph Tranmantana, Brendan Santi, Ryan King, Alexander Myles, Gioele Celerino

Subs: Daniel Petralia, Anton Iaria, Rhys Sciglitano, Johm Trimboli

Try: Tramontana (7)

Sin bin: Santi (52 – dissent)

Half time: 18-4

Referee: Liam Moore (England)

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DATE: 9 November, 2019

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2021 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP QUALIFIER POOL B – SERBIA 6 GREECE 82 – Report

A ruthless, 16-try display saw Greece claim the 15th and penultimate place in the 2021 World Cup – ensuring their debut in the global competition – at the Makis Stadium in Belgrade.

“Serbia were very physical, scored early and gave us a shock but overall everyone is just so excited at playing in a World Cup and what it might do for the domestic game in Greece,” said their head coach Steve Georgallis amidst the celebrations. “We hope it’s the step forward needed and everyone back home will be proud of us. We’ve got a lot of young players and are looking forward to coming to England.”

Serbia opened the scoring on their first attack, James Mirceski going over but five tries in 24 minutes gave the visitors an unassailable lead. Full back Chaise Robinson scored two of them on his way to a hat trick and winger John Mitsias the first of his brace, George Tsikrikas, Terry Constantinou and Jake Kambos also crossing as the Greeks began to run riot.

Hooker Peter Mamouzelos darted over and just before the break, skipper Jordan Meads added a try to his seven goals to make it 46-6 at half time and job done.

Cronulla’s Billy Magoulias, moved to stand off for the clash, scored two minutes into the second half to bring up the half century, Nikolaos Bosmos claimed a pair, and on the hour Nick Mougios went over. In a late spree, the Greeks cemented their famous win with Meads grabbing his second for a 26-point haul and replacement Aris Dardamanis sent over.

SERBIA 6

Milos Zogovic, Rajko Trifunovic, Zane Bijorac, Aleksandar Djordjevic, Dragan Jankovic, Daniel Burke, Vojislav Dedic, Vladica Nikolic, Vladislav Dedic, Milos Calic, Jason Muranka, James Mirceski, Stevan Stevanovic

Subs: Ilija Radan, Vladimir Milutinovic, Lazar Zivkovic, Nikola Srbljanin

Tries: Mirceski (1)

Goals: Zogovic

GREECE 82

Chaise Robinson, Nikolaos Bosmos, Nick Mougios, Terry Constantinou, John Mitsias, Billy Magoulias, Jordan Meads, Stefanos Bastas, Peter Mamouzelos, Vasili Tsikrikas, Jake Kambos, Sebastian Sell, George Tsikrikas

Subs: Aris Dardamanis, Stefano Totidis, Adam Vrahnos, Robert Tuliatu

Tries: Robinson (6, 16, 64), Mitsias (9, 67), G. Tsikrikas (17), Constantinou (20), Kambos (24), Mamouzelos (33), Meads (39, 78), Magoulias (42), Bosmos (47, 70), Mougios (60), Dardamanis (79)

Goals: Meads 9

Half time: 6-46

Referee: Robert Hicks (England)

PHIL CAPLAN

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USA and Cook Islands announce squads for RLWC2021 qualification game

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The USA Hawks and Cook Islands Kukis have announced their squads for the qualification game to decide the 16th and final place at Rugby League World Cup 2021. The game will be held in Jacksonville, Florida on November 16th.

Cook Islands head into the game after defeating South Africa in the last eliminator game and head coach, Tony Iro has emphasised the importance of this game to both teams, saying:

“We are looking forward to what will be a tight contest with two nations desperate to progress to the next World Cup. All of our players are excited about the challenge of playing in the US and hope we can make the match a great spectacle for all.”

The USA Hawks are licking their wounds having lost out on the automatic qualification place to Jamaica. They have home advantage for the game, but head coach Sean Rutgerson recognises the size of the challenge and is looking forward to the game with great relish, saying:

“We are looking forward to the challenge of taking on the Cook Islands, especially as they are pretty much all full-time players.

“We have a couple of new players in the squad and I’m looking forward to seeing them play. Elijah Ieriko , is from the Cronulla Sharks and we are really happy to be able to bring in another young player who we hope to be able to have with us for years to come. Eddie Pettybourne’s younger brother Sonny is also coming over, he has a lot of experience to bring to the team.

“We can’t wait to get into camp and start working hard.”

USA 25-MAN SQUAD

Nick Newlin (Atlanta Rhinos) Brandon Anderson, Connor Donehue, Alex Foster, Kevin Reed Jr, Jamil Robinson, Tim Stubbs (Brooklyn Kings), Sonny Pettybourne (Burleigh Bears), Edward Pettybourne (Central Queensland Capras), Elijah Ieriko (Cronulla Sharks), Mark Offerdahl (Goondiwindi Boars), Bureta Faraimo (Hull FC), Rory Humphreys (Ipswich Jets), Charlie Jones, Khalial Harris (Jacksonville Axemen), Joe Eichner (Northern Pride), Ryan Burroughs (NOVA Eagles), Andrew Kneisly (Philadelphia Fight), Matt Shipway (Port Macquarie Sharks), Corey Makelim (Sheffield Eagles), Jerome Veve (South Logan Magpies), Justin Branca (Tampa Mayhem), Danny Howard (Wentworthville Magpies), Kristian Freed (West’s Mitchelton), Matt Walsh (White Plains Wombats)

COOK ISLANDS 19-MAN SQUAD

Sam Mataora (Belconnen), Alex Glenn (Brisbane), Tevin Arona (Canterbury), Aaron Teroi (Central Queensland Capras) Reuben Rennie, Vincent Rennie (Mounties), Uiti Baker, Kayal Iro (Newcastle), Moses McGreal, Paul Ulberg (Norths Devils), Narata Niukore, Brad Takairangi (Parramatta), Dominic Peyroux (St Helens), Troy Dargan, Steven Marsters (South Sydney), Adam Tangata (Wakefield), Anthony Gelling (Warrington), Journe Pua, Brodie Tamarua (Warriors)

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DATE: 2 November, 2019

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2021 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP QUALIFIER POOL A – ITALY 34 SPAIN 4 – Report

Despite being down to 12 men for most of the second half, after centre Ethan Napoli was sent off for a high tackle, and 11 for a spell when his winger Emanuele Passera was sin binned for a similar offence, Italy duly qualified for the 2021 World Cup with a six-try performance.

In difficult conditions at the Stadio Communale Teghil in Lignano, two touchdowns in three minutes around the hour mark saw the Italians home.

“I’m very proud of the boys, they played tough,” said Azzurri head coach Leo Epifania. “Spain threw quite a bit at us, especially when we were down to 12 men for most of the second half. The boys rallied and defended well all night – we’re grateful to get another shot at a World Cup for Italy and looking forward to preparing for that.

“Thank you to Spain, it wasn’t easy, and the wet, slippery night changes the whole aspect of your attack.”

Italy skipper Brendan Santi powered over to open the scoring, Jack Campagnolo goaling, Spain generally scrambling well in defence to hold the early home onslaught.

They gained their reward when Gaetan Estruga made ground and a kick on the last ricocheted back to Luc Franco who won the race the ball; Romain Pallares wide with the conversion attempt.

Italy looked to spread the ball from the restart but the Spanish defence held, the hosts then kicking deep but the visitor’s defence twice holding out scoots from Joseph Tramontana and then Campagnolo.

Natoli sliced through on the right and the Italians gained a drop out and from it a penalty, their decision to tap rewarded thanks to a blind side overlap from a resulting scrum, after the Spaniards had attempted an interception in desperation, Campagnolo darting over and adding the extras.

On the final play of the first half, after Spain had again lost the ball cheaply, Italy were awarded a penalty 30 metres in front and Campagnolo made it 14-4 at the break.

The second period started in dramatic fashion, Spain were forced into touch on their own 30 but forced a turnover from the scrum, Natoli seeing red for a challenge that caused pushing and shoving in the aftermath, and then Julien Agullo following him for 10 minutes after a shoulder charge in response.

Passera went over in the corner soon after, Italy creating an overlap despite being a man down, but Spain – who struggled to complete a set – could not capitalise on their advantage.

Passera claimed his second when Italy again swept the ball left and another orthodox passing move freed hooker Joseph Tramontana, backing up on the inside, who sped to the posts, Campagnolo converting both efforts.

Spain tried a grubber and hack on to break the Italian last lune but the Azzurri regathered and went up the other end, forcing a goal line drop out from which Ryan King scored after Campagnolo chipped towards the corner.

Spain head coach Darren Fisher was disappointed his side had gone out of the qualification process but refused to allow his players to bow their heads.

“It’s a pretty tough one but it’s been a long journey. We have to keep improving and these are the games we want to be playing in,” he said. “Much credit to the guys, they’ve stuck in there and I think we’ve done a decent job over the past two weeks.”

ITALY 34

Samuel Doleres, Emanuele Passera, Ethan Natoli, Rinaldo Palumbo, Richard Lepori, Gus Garzaniti, Jack Campagnolo, Alec Susino, Joseph Tramontana, Brenden Santi, Ryan King, Alexander Myles, Gioele Celerino

Subs: Daniel Petralia, Anton laria, Rhys Sciglitano, John Trimboli

Tries: Santi (10), Campagnolo (26), Passera (46, 58), Tramontana (61), King (78)

Goals: Campagnolo 5

Sent off: Natoli (43 – high tackle)

Sin bin: Passera (65 – high tackle)

SPAIN 4

Romain Franco, Alexis Escamilla, Daniel Garcia, Alex Doutres, Ludovic Renu, Luc Franco, Romain Palleres, Gaetan Estruga, Miguel Blanco-Charters, Kevin Aparicho, Antonio Puerta, Raphael Garcia, Julien Agullo

Subs: Miquel Tomas, Maxime Garcia, Emir-Walid Bouregba, Anthony Delgado

Try: L. Franco (17)

Sin bin: Agullo (45 – shoulder charge)

Half time: 14-4

Referee: Benjamin Casty (France)

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2021 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP QUALIFIER POOL B – GREECE 24 SCOTLAND 42 – Report

Luke Douglas’s last charge of his professional career, which saw him score for Scotland from 20 metres out, ensured that the Bravehearts qualified for their fifth World Cup, with a 42-24 triumph over Greece in London.

The retiring prop, who played the full 80 minutes to great effect, sealed a terrific personal performance with the conversion to his touchdown, the first goal of his illustrious career,

Scotland were made to fight all the way by a committed Greek side, who were level 24-all with 15 minutes left to play.

From that point on, the Greeks having failed to find touch with a penalty, saw Scotland dominate.

“I’m really pleased with the result although, at times, we put ourselves in a hole by not completing,” said Scotland caretaker coach Nathan Graham. “All credit to the lads, they dug in and got back to the game plan, and we went away with it at the end with some really good play.”

Graham added: “There were a couple of stand out performers for us, Luke Douglas in his final game was immense, as was Oscar Thomas who was a last minute call up at hooker and also played the entire time and came up with some real quality play – and young Callum McLelland on the left caused all sorts of problems. We’ve qualified in good style.”

Kick off was delayed by 15 minutes as medical supplies were held up but Graham’s side raced into a 14 point lead inside 17 minutes.

Greece made an early break up field from the kick off but Scotland countered when Davey Dixon’s bust out wide was supported by Ryan Brierley for the opening try, the scrum half converting his own effort.

Greece kicked out on the full and gave away a double penalty, McLelland stepping over from close in for his second try in as many international appearances, Brierley wide with the goal attempt.

Ben Kavanagh powered over the cover soon after wide out to extend the lead, but the Greeks – in this their ‘home’ game – were back in contention in the 24th minute when great hands to the right saw Mitchell Zampetides cross.

Greece then forced a goal line drop out from which prop Robert Tuliatu bundled over, Jordan Meads converting.

Just after the half hour, David Scott became his nation’s all-time try scorer with his tenth in eighteen games thanks to Alex Walker’s long pass, but Greece narrowed the gap to two points at the break when hooker Peter Mamouzelos scooted over and Meads goaled.

Meads kicked a penalty to level at the start of the second half after Kieran Moran was sin binned for a high tackle.

Greece then lost possession at the play the ball and McLelland made them pay with his second, Brierley goaling, but the blue and white’s were level in the 55th minute when a clever kick out wide saw Chaise Robinson capitalise.

Matt Hogg did superbly to gather a kick and get out of his in goal area and, from the position gained, a looping pass out wide saw Will Oakes cross in the corner.

Kavanagh then claimed his second, Thomas with the conversion and a penalty to give his side a cushion going into the closing stages, Douglas with the icing on their cake.

Greece now travel to Serbia, with the winners claiming the second World Cup berth from Pool B.

“I am very proud of the effort and determination of the players in trying circumstances,” said Greece head coach Steve Georgallis. “We had chances to put Scotland under pressure but let them off the hook with simple errors. It was an entertaining game played in good spirit.

“Congratulations to Scotland in reaching the 2021 World Cup. We must now focus on our game against Serbia. It will be a tough on their soil.”

GREECE 24

1. Terry Constantinou 2. John Mitsias 3. Greg Koutsimporgiogos 4. Mitchell Zampetides 5. Nick Mougios 6. Chaise Robinson 7. Jordan Meads 8. Stefano Totidis 9. Peter Mamouzelos 10. Robert Tuliatu 11. Sebastian Sell 12. Jake Kambos 13. Billy Magoulias

Subs: 14. Kosta Katsidonis 15. Stefanos Bastas 16. Jake Vrahnos 17. Theodoris Nianiakas

Tries: Zampetides (24), Tuliatu (28), Mamouzelos (39), Robinson (55)

Goals: Meads 4

SCOTLAND 42

1. Alex Walker 2. Matt Hogg 3. Davey Dixon 4. David Scott 5. Will Oakes 6. Callum Mclelland 7. Ryan Brierley 8. Luke Douglas 9. Oscar Thomas 15. Sam Luckley 11. Nick Glohe 12. Ben Kavanagh 13. Dale Ferguson

Subs: 10. Dan Turland 16. Joe Mclean 17. Kieran Moran 21. Liam Faughlin

Tries: Brierley (4), McLelland (11, 46), Kavanagh (17, 69), Scott (32), Oakes (66), Douglas (78)

Goals: Brierley 2, Thomas 2, Douglas 1

Referee: James Child (England)

Half time: 16-18

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

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