15 May 2015

Kiwis number one in the world

5:55 am on 15 May 2015

The Kiwis are now recognised as the best team in the world.

In an historic move, the Kiwis have wrested top spot away from Australia for the first time since the world rugby league rankings began, courtesy of their 26-12 triumph in the recent ANZAC Test in Brisbane.

Stephen Kearney

Stephen Kearney Photo: Photosport

That victory was their first mid-season success since 1998 and a third consecutive win over their Tasman neighbours for the first time in 61 years.

Stephen Kearney, who is now the longest serving Kiwi coach, says it's always humbling when your accomplishments are recognised in a tangible way and this ranking is a sign that they are doing something right in terms of their overall goal, which is simply to continually strive towards achieving their potential.

He says they've been fortunate that they've been able to field close to their strongest side over their last two campaigns - the Four Nations and this month's Anzac Test. Compare that with last year's Anzac game, when they had about 16 players unavailable.

Wing Jason Nightingale scores a try and celebrates with his Kiwis team-mate Martin Taupau.

Wing Jason Nightingale scores a try and celebrates with his Kiwis team-mate Martin Taupau. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He says despite this accolade, they still consider Australia as the benchmark for international rugby league and they know that defending the number one ranking against England on their home soil later this year will also present a wonderful challenge for them.

New Zealand will now be aiming to strengthen their hold on top spot over the autumn in the lead up to the 2016 Four Nations tournament in Britain and the 2017 World Cup to be staged in the Antipodes.

New Zealand play England in a three-test series in November.

The world rankings are based on results in full international matches, and take into account the standing, result and competition played in. More recent results carry a greater weighting than previous ones.

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