The international Rugby League landscape is nothing compared to that of Soccer and Rugby Union. It is made up of 3 giants. There are many nations participating in rugby league but the dip in standard is very clear.
The 2008 World Cup was a good example of the nature of international rugby league with England, New Zealand and Australia the big guns. Whilst the rest were a fair way behind. With P.N.G, Ireland, Samoa, France, Scotland, Tonga and Fiji the others competing.
Apart from these teams there are many other countries participating in rugby league.Some noted ones are Wales(who have now gained a celtic team in the english super league), Russia, Malta, South Africa along with many others.
The problem is history with few countries having a rich history of rugby league. We are a younger sport and are at earlier stages to that of union and soccer.
There is however much potential with League now starting to gain a small foothold in new regions.
Apart from actually competing, results play a part in our sport. With Australia dominating the competition whilst England and New Zealand battle out for second whilst occasionally picking up a rare won over the world number 1's.
After these two countries, I would put P.N.G, France, Ireland and Samoa as the next block of nations who are a little more dominant than the other world cup nations not listed.
As you can see the actual competitiveness for top placings is not high and with most players worthy of international selection able to change allegiance to a member of the big three, other growing federations suffer as a result.
to be continued