Local players set to join Lebanon World Cup squad after narrow win over Italy

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June 05, 2017 By Brad Walter

The Cedars edged out Italy 6-4 in a tense contest at the Universite Libanais Stadium in Beirut, which ended amid heated scenes after Azzurri centre Mirco Bergamasco was denied a try in the final play of the match.

Both teams comprised of players from their country’s domestic competitions and Lebanon interim coach Tarek Houchar said five members of his side would get the opportunity to play alongside Robbie Farah, Tim Mannah and Mitchell Moses at the World Cup.


“It’s just great to see most of these kids come through our system and get a chance to represent their country.”

Five of the Cedars squad had graduated through Lebanon’s representative youth pathway, with Imad Chidiac and Joey Aslan having represented all three junior national teams; the Junior Cedars (U16), Lebanon Youth (U18-9) and Liban Espoir (U20-1).

The Italy team, which is expected to be bolstered at the World Cup by the likes of James Tedesco, Paul Vaughan and Aiden Guerra, was also drawn solely from their domestic competition and included five debutants.

Italian officials were pleased with the defensive effort of their team but poor discipline proved costly, with a 65th minute penalty goal by Lebanon five-eighth Wael Harb being the difference after both teams scored unconverted tries in the first half.

Cedars centre Jeffrey Tohme, from Jounieh club, put the home team ahead 4-0 in the first minute after hooker hooker Gianni Hammoudeh (Wolves RLFC) combined with secondrower Kahil Bejjani (Immortals RLFC) near the Italy try line following a break by halfback Imad Chidiac (Jounieh RLF).

Italy fullback Fabio Borina (Spartans Catania) levelled the scores when he crossed in the corner in the 30th minute but Bergamasco was unable to convert and the Azzurri paid the price for ill-discipline after conceding three consecutive penalties before Harb’s goal from in front of the posts.

Bergamasco claimed a try in the 80th minute when he dived over from dummy half after five-eighth Jaume Giorgis (North West Roosters) toed ahead a loose ball near the Italy try line and raced 90 metres before being pulled down just short.

However, referee Mikhael Shammas ruled after a long discussion with his fellow match officials that Bergamasco had been gone into touch as he attempted to get the ball down and disallowed the try before blowing fulltime.

Lebanon 6 (J Tohme try, W Harb goal) def Italy 4 (F Borina try) at Universite Libanais Stadium. Referee: Mikhael Shammas. Touch Judges: Nadeem Moughnieh, Sami Assaf. Fourth Official: Jad Esseily.

R. Sabat
• A. Bowles
• K. el Rafii
• J. Tohme
• J. Moorkar
• W. Harb
• I. Chidiac
• T. El Hage
• G. Hammoudieh
• Z. Agha
• K. Bejjani
• A. Abou Arabi
• R. Hachache
• M. Tawk
• R. Farjallah
• J.M. Rizkalla
• E. Bou Lattof

• F. Borina
• A. Rigo
• E. Passera
• M. Bergamasco
• E. Pezzano
• J. Giorgis
• I. Gimmario
• G. Pagani
• S. Bosoco
• T. Nicoli
• A. Hliwa
• M. Sands
• G. Celerino
• F. Ciavrro
• S. Stanissa
• F. Di Trapani
• I. Bayoui

By Brad Walter | @BradWalterSport
Chief Correspondent, RLWC2017

Image Credit: Lebanon Rugby League

Written by

Brad Walter


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