Tonga are now second behind New Zealand in the latest International Rugby League Men’s World Rankings.
In their first test match since beating Australia in 2019, Tonga were beaten 26-6 by New Zealand.
But their results in that series three years, which included beating Great Britain, has seen them climb the rankings.
England slip having played a Combined Nations All Stars team in June rather than a test opponent.
Wales jumped seven places from 23rd to 16th despite their defeat to France, their first match since 2019.
Serbia are ranked eighth after winning last year’s Euro B Championship.
The rankings have drawn criticism, with Australia down in fourth place having not played a game in nearly three years.
Nations are awarded ranking points every time they play a sanctioned international.
Result and margin, the strength of opponent and the importance of the match are also factored in to the criteria.
Only games since the 2017 World Cup are considered.
IRL chair Troy Grant said: “Wales have the potential to be the Tonga of the Northern Hemisphere.
“It is great to have seen many nations recently return to international action and what the latest IRL World Rankings show is that nations who are active can climb the rankings.
“The rankings also suggest that you can’t rest on your laurels from past performances and being active is important, particularly leading into the World Cup.
“With the Kiwis showing that they will be hard to beat, Tonga’s rise continuing and the performances of Samoa and Papua New Guinea in the Pacific Tests, the Men’s World Cup is wide open.
“Recent results suggest that the Women’s and Wheelchair World Cups will also be keenly contested, and we are all excited about the continuing growth of international rugby league.”
In the women’s rankings, Australia remain top ahead of England and New Zealand.
But with Australia not having played since 2019, the gap at the top is narrow.
Men’s World Rankings (July 2022)
Papua New Guinea
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Women’s World Rankings
Papua New Guinea
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