Eastmoor’s Daz Fisher proud of helping Serbia to highest-ever Rugby League world ranking

Wakefield’s Daz Fisher has led Serbia’s Rugby League team to their highest-ever ranking in the official international standings.

By Tony Harber
Thursday, 14th July 2022, 10:00 am

Following their success in the European Championship B last year – when they defeated Ukraine 54-18 and Russia 66-10 – Serbia have been ranked in eighth place.

Their head coach is Daz Fisher, Eastmoor Dragons’ director of rugby and a former coach with Wakefield Trinity and Castleford Tigers.

After six years as Spain’s head coach he took over the Serbian team last year and met with instant success in his first games in charge.

Daz Fisher coaching the Serbia players, who are now in a team ranked number eight in the world.

He told the Express: “I was asked to lead as head coach last year for the European B competition after my resignation of head coach of Spain RL and we got the wins.

“The new recognition now sees us hit the highest ranking in the history of Serbian Rugby League, which is a massive achievement for all involved and something I’m very proud of being part of.”

Rugby League came to Serbia in September 1953, when France A played France Students in the Serbian capital city Belgrade.

In those days Serbia was a part of the former Yugoslavia who formed a Rugby League team on November 1, 1953 and that day is celebrated now as rugby league day.

Serbian players in action when the sport was first played in the old Yugoslavia in the 1950s.

Serbian rugby league was rebuilt in 2001 and their first official international match was played on October 19, 2003 against Lebanon.

Since 2001 Serbia has developed a strong domestic amateur competition and has become one of the leading nations for growth in Europe.

A number of top Rugby League names have held the post as Serbia head coach, including John Risman, Gerard Stokes, Lee Crooks and Stuart Wilkinson.

It is a mark of the growth of the sport in the country that a Serbia team will be taking part in the European U19 Championship.

After their recent success Serbia stand eighth in the international rankings, ahead of France (9), Ireland (12), Scotland (15) and Wales (16).

The newly published rankings are: 1 New Zealand, 2 Tonga, 3 England, 4 Australia, 5 Papua New Guinea, 6 Fiji, 7 Samoa, 8 Serbia.

The Official International Rugby League world rankings are calculated on each nation’s performance over the current season and the three preceding seasons.

Points are awarded to each team for each match based on factors like the result, margin, strength of opposition and importance of the game.

Only officially sanctioned matches played at senior level between two approved members are considered as part of the rankings.

In tenth place are Malta, who include former Wakefield Trinity player Jarrod Sammut as their captain.