Lebanon secured a first ever Rugby League World Cup win with a late playmaking master class from Mitchell Moses. They now look set to get into the knockout stages if the pool goes to form.
No Saab, no worries!
Lebanon’s talisman Chris Saab was a late withdrawal in the warm ups in what was a massive loss to the big Cedars forward pack early on. Jaleel Seve-Derbas, however, served as an apt starting replacement and 18th man Adam Doueihi came onto the bench at short notice. The latter, only 19 years old, took the opportunity by the scruff of the neck and scored a debut try for the Cedars that looked to be the winner.
NRL quality reigns supreme
Despite France being the more effective team throughout the game, Lebanon’s NRL grade spine essentially won Lebanon the game. Lichaa, Moses, and Farah all managed to get the Cedars out of sticky situations at various points in the game with a seamless kicking game, and in doing so, they were also able to get them great field position when it was on offer. Mannah and Twal were head and shoulders above their team-mates and it was clear which side had the NRL grade players with Lichaa, Moses, and Farah all taking control and sealing the win in the last ten.
Lichaa – Lebanon’s super sub
Despite having had the best part of possession and territory for the first 15 minutes, Lebanon began to lose the arm wrestle with France who, for the most part, were the dominant team around the ruck. Fitler then brought on Lichaa who opened the game up for the Cedars and set up a try for Travis Robinson on the stroke of half time.
Errors, errors, errors
Despite the conditions being seemingly perfect, both sides where plagued by errors throughout the game. Both Lebanon and France let their opposition back into the game with a plethora of knock-ons in both halves; initially it looked as though Lebanon would throw it away with errors but it was France who eventually cracked at the back end of the game with their 11 errors catching up with them. The score line was completely exaggerated, however, by a bombed late cross field kick from William Barthau that landed into Travis Robinson’s hands just 20m from the France line. Robinson did the rest and put the game to bed with Lebanon running away 29-18 winners.
Tries: Robinson (2), Doueihi, Layoun, Moses
Goals: Moses (4)
Field Goals: Moses
Tries: Ader (2), Cardace
Goals: Barthau (3)