After their famous victory over New Zealand last weekend, Tonga will face Lebanon this Saturday in Christchurch for a spot in the final four of the 2017 World Cup.

Having secured top place in Pool B and avoided a blockbuster clash with Fiji in the last eight, Kristian Woolf’s side will have a much easier time on paper against Lebanon this weekend, but they still certainly won’t have it all their way. What they might lack in class and experience coming in to the tournament, Lebanon have more than made up for with camaraderie and stirring defence and they’ll go in to Saturday’s game with nothing to lose.

Going in as the underdogs, Lebanon know they will need to take it up a gear in order to put up a fight against this undefeated Tonga side. Winning only one of three games in the World Cup so far and affected by a number of injuries, the Cedars might be shaken, but they are not defeated, and will no doubt give it their all in Lebanon’s first ever World Cup quarterfinal.

In terms of the statistics, Saturday’s game looms as a one-sided contest to Tonga; they have already scored 19 tries and 110 points in the tournament to date, and are boosted by the return from injury of centre Michael Jennings, who is the second-highest try-scorer so far.

Lebanon have been made to do a mountain of work so far in the tournament — their 989 tackles are more than any other team so far — and it’s likely that will continue again here.
 

Quarterfinal 2: Tonga vs. Lebanon

MATCH DETAILS

Date — Saturday, November 18, 2017

Time — 3:00pm AEDT

Venue — Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch (NZ)

 

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

Lebanon

 

Tonga

Anthony Layoun

1

Will Hopoate

Travis Robinson

2

Daniel Tupou

James Elias

3

Michael Jennings

Adam Doueihi

4

Konrad Hurrell

Abbas Miski

5

David Fusitu’a

Mitchell Moses

6

Tui Lolohea

Robbie Farah (capt.)

7

Ata Hingano

Tim Mannah

8

Andrew Fifita

Michael Lichaa

9

Sione Katoa

Alex Twal

10

Sio Siua Taukeiaho

Nick Kassis

11

Manu Ma’u

Ahmed Elias

12

Sika Manu (capt.)

Jamie Clark

13

Jason Taumalolo

Mitchell Mamary

14

Siliva Havili

Ray Moujalli

15

Sam Moa

Elias Sukkar

16

Tevita Pangai Jnr

Jason Webhe

17

Ben Murdoch-Masila

Reserves (LEB) — Andrew Kazzi, Chris Saab, Bilal Marbaani

Reserves (TON) — Ukama Ta’ai, Joe Ofahengaue, Mahe Fonua, Samisoni Langi

 

RLWC RESULTS SO FAR

Lebanon

Game 1 — Lebanon 29 def. 18 France at GIO Stadium, Canberra

Game 2 — England 29 def. Lebanon 10 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Game 3 — Australia 34 def. Lebanon 0 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney


Tonga

Game 1 — Tonga 50 def. Scotland 4 at Barlow Park, Cairns

Game 2 — Tonga 32 def. Samoa 18 at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Game 3 — Tonga 28 def. New Zealand 22 at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

 

HISTORY

Set to meet each other for the first time in history, both Lebanon and Tonga will be full of respect and caution for the other with a spot in the World Cup semifinals on the line.

 

KEY MATCHUP —  Tui Lolohea (Tonga) v Mitchell Moses (Lebanon)

For Wests Tigers fans in particular, Saturday’s matchup between Tui Lolohea and Mitchell Moses will be extremely fascinating to watch given their shared past. With plenty of pressure on him and halves partner Ata Hingano heading in to the tournament, Lolohea has shown to be more than capable of directly the side around — starring in his side’s comeback win over New Zealand last weekend with a hand in three second-half tries. Both players are nearly identical with their statistics so far in the tournament — Lolohea narrowly trailing Moses with 41 tackles to 45 but has also missed less than the Lebanese playmaker, while both players have chalked up three try assists and a try. Both Lolohea and Moses will look to use their skills and experience close to the line, but a lot of what they do will come down to how their respective forward packs go in setting a platform for them.

 

PREDICTION

Lebanon have been probably the feel-good story of the tournament and it’s hard not to like what you see from Brad Fittler’s men each week, as they continue to display great resilience in defence against far superior opponents. That attitude will likely be on show again this week, but as in the past fortnight, it probably won’t quite be enough for the Cedars. Tonga will be riding high after their famous victory last weekend, and while that might lead to some complacency, they should have far too much strike power on the edges for Lebanon to hold them out for the full 80 minutes. Tonga will kick away and win easily. Tonga by 24.