England provided a workmanlike performance to beat Group A underdogs Lebanon 29-10 in a heated affair.
McGillvary just a little too hungry
Jermaine McGillvary provided much of the intensity and desire that England played with, however, things boiled over with the Cedars’ captain, Robbie Farah, mid-way through the second half. Farah made a formal complaint about biting at the ruck and, after Ben Thaler put it on report, replays later showed what appeared to be McGillvary tucking into Farah’s forearm. There is no place for this in rugby league and if charged, which he seemingly should be, he’ll no doubt be a big loss to England.
One start, one try
Currie made his Rugby League World Cup debut in 2013 with Ireland and made his England debut just a week ago against Australia off the bench. His first start for England came in this one and he topped it off with a smooth try off a short ball from Josh Hodgson.
Lebanon continue to impress
For what Robbie Farah called a ‘park team’, Lebanon are giving their first Rugby League World Cup a very good crack. A first win against France saw them better Super League standard opposition and this time round, while they couldn’t take another scalp, they surely earned the respect of the rugby league community when only losing by 19 to the 3rd favourites for the tournament.
Final looks out of reach for unconvincing England
While Lebanon performed well above what was expected, England were a party to their success. For large parts of the game the attack looked rather flat, while defensively they probably weren’t as tight as they need to be to flourish in finals football. On the other hand, Wayne Bennet’s playing style isn’t conducive to blowing sides off the park, and will most likely be more effective in the tight ones so it’s not all doom and gloom for England.
England 29 (22)
|Tries: Watkins, McGillvary, Hall, Currie, Burgess|
|Goals: Widdop (4)|
|Drop goal: Widdop|
Lebanon 10 (6)
|Tries: Kassis, Wehbe|
England: Ratchford; McGillvary, Watkins, Bateman, Hall; Widdop, Gale; Hill, Hodgson, Graham, Currie, Whitehead, O’Loughlin.
Interchanges: Walmsley, Heighington, T Burgess, Williams.
Lebanon: Daniel Abou-Sleiman, Travis Robinson, Bilal Maarbani, Adam Doueihi, Abbas Miski, Mitchell Moses, Robbie Farah, Tim Mannah, Jamie Clark, Mitchell Mamary, Alex Twal, Ahmad Ellaz, Nick Kassis.
Interchanges: Ray Moujalli, Michael Lichaa, Jason Wehbe, Elias Sukkar.
Referee: Ben Thaler