|England were too strong for PNG|
There is one country where RL is the national sport, and that by a country mile. That Is Papua New Guinea. The are known as the Kumuls, which means 'birds of paradise'. PNG was admitted into the international fold in 1974 and played their first test match the following year.
Report card: This was PNG's 7th WC, stretching back to 1988. They have played in all since then too. The first two were prolonged and extensive, providing a learning curve for the new test nation. After that, they became more competitive apart from the unfair pool of death system in 2008.
In 2017, they were on fire when their opposition couldn't keep up with them. They brushed aside Wales (50-6) and USA (64-0) but in between those game struggled to beat Ireland (14-6). The quarter final against England in Melbourne showed how they come unstuck against tougher opposition, going down 6-36.
So while they can run riot against lower ranked teams, things change drastically when the opposition is stronger. They go from free scoring to looking stifled. To break into the top tier, that is something that needs to improve. Still, a great improvement and their best WC ever.
Final ranking for the tournament: 5th to 8th (out of 14 teams).
Below is a résumé of past WCs. The lower figure for each year is the points differential for group matches only.
Picture source: RLEF.
Other teams ranked at the 2017 WC. Click on the nation to go to that article.
12th - 14th: Scotland, Wales, USA.
9th - 11th: France, Italy, Samoa.
5th - 8th: Ireland, Lebanon, New Zealand, PNG.
1st - 4th: Australia, England, Fiji, Tonga.