League ranking flawed: Carlson

Friday December 07, 2018 Written by Published in League
The Cook Islands men’s team played Papua New Guinea last year. Kukis’ match against PNG in June test this year was cancelled in the last hour. 18120620 The Cook Islands men’s team played Papua New Guinea last year. Kukis’ match against PNG in June test this year was cancelled in the last hour. 18120620

Cook Islands Rugby League Association president Charles Carlson says the ranking system used by the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) is flawed.


His claim follows the latest world ranking of the national men’s team which has dropped 12 places to 43 from the previous ranking of 31.

In an email to the RLIF, Carlson enquired how nations who were not even observers, associates and full members of the international body were ranked higher than full member nations such as the Cook Islands.

He said in the ranking, the top teams (full members) and emerging nations need to be separated.

RLIF acknowledged Carlson’s concern and said the ranking system was due for a review.

“You can’t mix the two groups together like you guys have done, this is ridiculous,” Carlson said in the email.

“In fact there are three tiers – Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 emerging nations so at the moment Tier 3 teams are playing more games among themselves and they get ranked higher than Tier 2 teams.

“You also need to take the membership issue into consideration as some nations just managed to get a team together for the Test match but with no established competition in their own nation to warrant an international sanctioning.”

RLIF said the world rankings was put in place and approved by the board, “a good few years ago”.

“They are due (for) a review as the number of teams and games has continued to grow. A meeting has already been arranged for the New Year,” the international league body said.

It also said the rankings were based on results only and did not consider anything else, adding that a proposal would come before the board in the near future to remedy that.

Pacific island nations such as Niue, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are ranked higher than the Cook Islands in the latest rankings released this week.

“Yet these nations don’t qualify to participate in a World Cup qualifying,” Carlson added.

According to the RLIF, world rankings are calculated on each nation’s performance over the current season and the four preceding seasons. 

Points are awarded to each team for each match based on the result, the margin of victory (or defeat), the relative strength of opposition faced, the date of the match and the importance of the match.

The points are then used to create the official World Rankings by ordering the teams by virtue of the points gained over five seasons.

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

Meanwhile the Kukis will be playing South Africa in the World Cup qualifying series in June, 2019, as part of a triple header in Sydney, Australia.

The winner of the match will play USA for a place in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

Carlson said Cook Islands’ competition was against Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and Papua New Guinea, adding these were highly ranked nations.

“We were to play PNG in the June Pacific Test 2018 only to be told in the last hour we were not playing, so that doesn’t help at all.

“It would be good to get to a stage where we are self-funded or sponsored so we are not at the mercy of the NRL or the RLIF to dictate whether we play or not.”

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