Wales have been ranked in the International Rugby League Women’s rankings for the first time in their history, entering the table in 13th, whilst Wales Wheelchair have retained their long-standing position as third in the world.
The Wales women’s side played two matches in 2021, taking on England and Ireland in their first-ever test ranked games, building on the success of the Cardiff Demons, who were Women’s Betfred Super League South champions in 2021.
There were just three women’s international matches played anywhere in the world in 2021 – the other match was an England win over France.
Heading into next year’s World Cup, the Wales Wheelchair side also played in over half of the world’s international matches in 2021, playing five times, which included competitive wins over Scotland and Ireland to give them the Celtic Cup for the fifth successive year.
The IRL World Rankings are based only upon the results of senior international matches with the following criteria:
- The relative ranking of the opponent i.e., the higher the ranking of the opponent the greater the weighting of the result.
- The competition i.e., games in official competition are weighted higher than bi-lateral arranged games. Rugby League World Cup games carry the greatest weighting.
- More recent games are weighted more than older games and only games in the previous four seasons are considered.
Given that only one senior international match was possible in 2020, for the purposes of the calculation, 2020 has been discounted, which means that results from Rugby League World Cup 2017 are still active in the calculations although with the minimum weighting applied.
Wales Rugby League CEO Gareth Kear said: “I’m proud that we have three elite pathways; men, wheelchair and now women’s in the world rankings. Our Wheelchair team continue their progress as a top-three side in the World.
“The amount of work put in by the staff over the last two years has been immense for both pathways and especially to get the women’s programme running, especially given the challenges of Covid-19. We are looking forward to playing more internationals and achieving our goal of the women’s team being a top four ranked side by 2025.
“Our men’s side will hope to improve their ranking with a mid-season international, together with the women and wheelchair, on the weekend of 18/19 June.”