Debate over the latest Rugby League World Rankings has been intense since the details were released at the start of December. With certain top nations experiencing interruptions to the calendar, their own ranking has dropped.
In contrast, sides such as Serbia who have been active, have climbed the charts after playing more games than most. The list has been discussed on this website but have those new rankings had any effect on expectations for the Rugby League World Cup which is scheduled to start in October 2022?
Second Time Lucky?
With Australia and New Zealand withdrawing from the tournament, there was little point in running the World Cup this year. Time may tell as to whether 2021 would have been the best time to host it but we must assume, at this point, that it’s going ahead in 2022.
16 teams will travel to England in what will be the biggest World Cup since the competition began in 1954. Australia, who have won 11 of those previous tournaments, will arrive as the defending champions, while their biggest challenges are set to come from New Zealand and England.
Completing the list of entrants are Fiji, France, Cook Islands, Greece, Jamaica, Lebanon, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Wales, Samoa and Tonga.
The World Cup is scheduled to begin on October 15th and, in those initial stages, the 16 teams will be split into four groups of four. Each side within those sections will play each other once and, at the end of the sequence, the best two countries in each group will progress to the knockouts.
Eight teams have now progressed to the quarter finals and it’s a straight, one-game shootout from that point onwards. The tournament will then conclude with the final which is set to take place on November 19th.
It’s a straightforward format but who are the favourites to claim the trophy and how do their positions compare with the new Rugby League World Rankings?
Champions out in Front
They are the defending champions and the most successful team in the history of the World Cup and it’s no surprise to see Australia listed as red-hot favourites to win in 2022. The Kangaroos are an odds-on option with all rugby league betting markets that have been published so far.
Those figures have been provided by sportsbooks that are affiliated with the sbo.net site. This is the place to keep up with the latest rugby league betting ahead of the tournament and odds will continue to be updated until the competition gets underway.
While assessing the markets, visitors can also read up on news and opinion relating to the world cup and to rugby league in general. Options to get involved with those markets are also in place for those that want to take things further.
All of the sportsbooks that are connected with sbo.net will be ready to accept new customers. In most places, there are generous welcome offers and many sportsbooks also provide ongoing promotions.
A range of deposit methods can get the account up and running while efficient customer service is in place for any queries.
The favourites’ berth awarded to Australia is in slight contrast to their new world ranking of number four. Clearly, the current inactivity around the side is having a say in those standings but have they affected other teams taking part in 2022?
The Biggest Challengers
New Zealand and England are listed as joint second-favourites in some places. On home soil, England could provide the closest challenge while the Kiwis will also be hopeful of success. New Zealand became only the third country to win the World Cup when they lifted the trophy in 2008.
The world rankings offer a fairer reflection this time: England is in second place in the standings while New Zealand is at the very top. The sides offer the biggest challenge to Australia and that fact is backed up by both the rankings and the bookmakers.
The remaining nations are so far behind the favourites that the comparisons may be irrelevant. The only real anomaly lies with Australia who has dropped into fourth place in the rankings but is clearly the team to beat in 2022.