The Kiwis will take the world #1 ranking into their Four Nations title defence later this year. (Photo: photosport.nz).
Latest Rugby League International Federation rankings see New Zealand retain its top spot, despite consecutive losses to rivals England and Australia.
In their most recent outing, the Kiwis fell 16-0 to the Kangaroos in last month’s Test at Newcastle, after dropping a three-test series 2-1 in England last November.
But the accumulated points from the 2014 Four Nations triumph and 2015 Anzac Test victory see them still clear at top of the table.
The Kiwis will face Australia (second), England (third) and Scotland (ninth) in the Four Nations tournament, starting October 29.
Biggest improvers have been Papua New Guinea, whose victory over seventh-ranked Fiji last month sees them improve three spots to 11th.
PNG is already assured of hosting three pool games at next year’s Rugby League World Cup.
RLIF World Rankings (June 2016)
|7||Fiji||19||Cook Islands||31||South Africa|
|11||Papua New Guinea||23||Ukraine||35||Latvia|