France are ranked number one in the world as the official International Rugby League (IRL) wheelchair rugby league world rankings are issued for the very first time.
The French can lay claim to have been the “inventors” of the wheelchair game and are the current world cup holders. England are a very close second after a very strong showing in 2019 which saw victories against France followed by a successful tour to Australia.
Wheelchair rugby league has steadily grown over the past ten years and now features eight nations in the rankings. This will certainly increase over the next 18 months as Norway and the USA are nations who will compete at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in the discipline.
The world rankings are calculated using exactly the same formula as for the men’s and women’s running game. They only consider full international matches played over the past four-year period and are based upon the result of the game, the strength of the opponent with the most recent results carrying the most weight. World Cup games carry more weight than standard international matches.
French national coach, Sylvain Crismanovich said;
“It is a great honour to be recognised as the number one wheelchair rugby league team in the world. We have always been proud of our players and our team and this is a great boost for us we get ready to defend our position as world champions.”
Pippa Britton, who chairs the IRL Wheelchair Working Group commented;
“This is another welcome advance for wheelchair rugby league as we prepare for RLWC2021 where all the athletes will be treated equally.
I congratulate France, they are the pioneers of this sport and continue to play a leading role in its development.”
Full Rankings are:
1. France - 100
2. England - 97%
3. Wales - 77%
4. Australia - 46%
5. Italy - 43%
6. Scotland - 29%
7. Spain - 25%
8. Ireland - 14%