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RLWC Preview: England vs. Lebanon

Dan Talintyre

ENG v LEB

Fresh off their maiden World Cup win last weekend, Lebanon will be looking to spring another upset when they take on England this Saturday night in Sydney.

Having never won before in World Cup history and needing to win at least once to qualify for the knockout rounds, Lebanon and France were locked at 18-all before the Cedars closed out the match in style to send the Lebanese crowd in to wild celebrations.

They’ll head to Sydney now full of confidence with nothing to lose in their final two games and will fancy their chances at producing another upset against an England side who showed plenty of fight against Australia in the tournament opener in Melbourne.

Losing Sam Burgess is certainly a blow for Wayne Bennett’s side, with the Rabbitohs forward hopeful of returning later in the tournament. However, despite his omission, England should still have enough class and talent to better their opponents this Saturday — helped also by the few changes Lebanon have made to their team from last week.

With Australia likely to run up a big score against France, England will want to get on the board for their first win of the World Cup and may rack up the points in the process.
 

Group A: England vs. Lebanon

MATCH DETAILS

Date — Saturday, November 4, 2017

Time — 8:00pm AEDT

Venue — Allianz Stadium, Sydney

 

LIVE STREAM AND TV INFORMATION

Live Stream — Channel 7’s https://7live.com.au/ (Australia only)

TV — Click here for a full country-by-country list of TV broadcasts.

 

TEAM NEWS

England

 

Lebanon

Jonny Lomax

1

Daniel Abou-Sleiman

Jermaine McGillvary

2

Travis Robinson

Kallum Watkins

3

Bilal Maarbani

John Bateman

4

Adam Doueihi

Ryan Hall

5

Abbas Miski

Gareth Widdop

6

Mitchell Moses

Luke Gale

7

Robbie Farah (capt.)

Chris Hill

8

Tim Mannah

Josh Hodgson

9

Michael Lichaa

James Graham

10

Alex Twal

Ben Currie

11

Chris Saab

Elliot Whitehead

12

Ahmad Eliaz

Sean O’Laughlin (capt.)

13

Nick Kassis

Alex Walmsley

14

Mitchell Mamary

Chris Heighington

15

Ray Moujalli

Thomas Burgess

16

Jamie Clark

James Roby

17

Jason Wehbe

Reserves (ENG) — George Williams, Mike McMeekan, Mark Percival, Stefan Ratchford

Reserves (LEB) — Elias Sukkar, Anthony Layoun, Andrew Kazzi, James Elias

 

RLWC STANDINGS — POOL A

 

Played

Won

Lost

F/A

Points

Australia

1

1

0

+14

2

Lebanon

1

1

0

+11

2

France

1

0

1

-11

0

England

1

0

1

-14

0

 

HISTORY

Saturday’s game will be the first meeting between Lebanon and England — the first time that England will have played against a country from Asia since the 2004 European Nations Championship when they comprehensively thrashed Russia 98-4.

 

PLAYER TO FOLLOW — Jermaine McGillvary, England

The highlight for England in the opening game was the potency of their left edge, and the combination of Gareth Widdop and Jermain McGillvary is certainly one to watch going forward. The powerful winger notched up an impressive 207 metres, two linebreaks and a try against Australia, and with a bit more luck, it could have easily led to more than the one try for England. He’ll come up against a Lebanon left edge that looked shaky at times against France, which could lead to a big night for the Englishman.

 

PREDICTION

There’s no doubt that after their thrilling win down in Canberra, Lebanon will come in to the game with plenty of confidence and belief that they can spring another upset. However, we just can’t see it happening. England have too much talent and too much to lose, while the subtle changes that Lebanon have made to their squad from the opening game perhaps make them not quite as strong for this one. The Cedars will come out firing and will keep it close early, but England will pull away late. England by 20.

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