Euro triumph lifts Bravehearts into World top ten

Scotland players and staff receive the trophy at the RFL head quarters in Leeds
Scotland players and staff receive the trophy at the RFL head quarters in Leeds

Scotland’s thrilling victory in the recent European Championship has seen the Bravehearts jump three places in the Rugby League International Federation’s world rankings to an all-time high of eighth place.

The wins over Wales and Ireland, meant that despite defeat to France in the final game at Galashiels, Scotland leap-frogged Wales, Papua New Guinea and the USA to rise into the world’s top ten.

“This is reward for several years of hard work,” said head coach Steve McCormack.

“It’s not just the wins this year, it’s the World Cup wins over Tonga and the USA, and the draw with Italy. They were built on the back of some real graft and commitment from a lot of players and staff since the 2008 World Cup to make those achievable.”

Australia remain number one despite losing the Four Nations final to New Zealand, who close the gap in second, with England still third. Samoa, who impressed throughout that tournament, have risen from seventh to fourth, pushing France down to fifth following their disappointing European campaign. Ireland’s wins over France and Wales saw them also move up, from tenth to seventh. Wales drop from sixth to ninth, having lost all three games this year, with the USA dropping a place from ninth having lost to Canada. Fiji fall from fifth to sixth.

Scotland are guaranteed a place in the 2017 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, having reached the quarter-finals last year, while they will compete with England, Australia and New Zealand in the 2016 Four Nations in the UK. 2015 sees another European Championship with opponents and venues to be confirmed.