August 2020

Stat attack: International rugby league

Stats covering international rugby league competition.

11 World Cups

The Australian Kangaroos are the most dominant Australian national sporting side, winning 11 World Cups out of the 15 that have been contested.

0 World Cups

England has never won the Rugby League World Cup. Great Britain claimed the inaugural trophy in 1954 but the squad was made up of the English, Scottish and Welsh.

Three winners

There have only ever been three winners of the World Cup; Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. The French have finished as runners up twice – in 1954 and 1968.

Indigenous impact

The Kangaroos have a proud Indigenous history, acting as trailblazers in Australian sport. Lionel Morgan became Australia’s first Indigenous player in any national sporting team in 1960. He was followed by Arthur Beetson becoming the first Indigenous player to captain any Australian sporting team in 1973.

In the 2015 ANZAC Test, 54 percent of Australia’s run-on side were Indigenous, a mark not matched by any other Australian national sporting team.


The New Zealand Kiwis are older than the Kangaroos and were the first team to tour overseas, heading to England in 1907 as a professional rugby union team who were nicknamed the “All Golds” due to the players being paid for the tour.


The French established their national team in 1934 when they travelled to England after they were banned from contesting Rugby Union’s Five Nations.


In 1940 the Vichy French government outlawed rugby league, seizing its assets and preventing its players from representing the code. The money went to rugby union and many of the players either went to union or retired. French rugby league has never truly recovered despite it being reinstated in 1944.

1951 and 1955

The French sent touring parties in both years to Australia with the French winning both series 2-1.


There are 19 full member nations of international rugby league, split between the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.


Johnathan Thurston holds the record for the most number of points scored in international rugby league.

1 comment

  1. Great Britain also won the World Cup in 1960 and 1972.

    There have been 5 different finalists – Great Britain, England, Australia, New Zealand and France. Same as in the union World Cup.

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