Australia vs Lebanon Preview

All going well for Lebanon they will qualify for the quarterfinals, with a little bit of English help, regardless of the result of this game. The reason I says this is nobody expects Lebanon to take anything from this game, the Cedars have impressed so far though, a well earned victory against France and resilient performance against England so far, has seen them come close to seeing them into the quarters. This is a huge boost for Rugby League as it puts the sport more on the radar in Lebanon, even the Lebanese prime minister was on twitter after Lebanon's first win congratulating the side.

Australia have had another shuffle around of their 17, even with plenty of changes, Australia field a really strong side. James Maloney comes in at 6, Tom Trbojevic moves to the centre, Ben Hunt will start from the bench and Holmes to fullback for the rested Slater. Being able to field such a quality side, even with key players and regulars rested, is a testament to the depth Australia have in their ranks. Lebanon know they will have a hell of a job trying to score points against this well organised side.

Lebanon have proved to be a tricky side so far in the World Cup. Mal Meninga has even come out singing the praises of halfback Mitchell Moses this week stating "he will be an Australian Kangaroo and a NSW Blue in years to come". Australia are fully aware of the threat that Lebanon pose, England did themselves no favours last week with a bad showing, but don't let that take anything away from how well Lebanon played. Their kicking game was particularly good, rather than targeting the wings Lebanon kicked more centrally, meaning players that are not as good in the air are forced to compete for the ball.

Australia: The Aussies have nothing to lose coming into this game, so expect to see plenty of the ball going up and down the line a maybe even a few experimental plays. The only real surprise for me is Holmes to fullback over Gagai. For Australia this game is going to be very much business as usual, lots of set plays, good field position and a strong kicking game.

These games are always a case of by how much instead of if Australia win. This can disrupt a team as they feel they have to go out and put big points on sides like Lebanon, this makes teams focus so much on the score line rather than the game itself, this can and will lead to errors. Whether or not this attitude will creep in with the Roo's is a whole other question but we will have to wait and see.

Lebanon: The usual suspects will be the driving force behind Lebanon's performance once more; Moses, Farah and Lichaa will be the marked men coming into this game. I'd like to also give a mention to the Lebanese centre Adam Doueihi, by no means the biggest man on the field, the young Rabbitoh centre has played really well so far and even bagged himself a try against France in the opening game, how he will fair against new south's team mate Gagai will be really important in this game.

Twal has had a big tournament so far, he has arguably been Lebanon's best forward in the tournament, this will really help his cause coming into the 2018 season. Jamie Clark will start from the bench this week, he's a very versatile player that can cover the hooker role or play anywhere in the forwards, having a player like this is a real boost. Lebanon are going to have to try their best to make good yards and hope their luck is in for this one.

Conclusion: Lebanon will look to limit Australia's scoring as they will want to maintain a good points difference, just in case in of an England loss to France. Australia will be looking to rack up a decent amount of points in this game and will therefore be  more focused in attack than defence. I think Lebanon will score in this game but we are still looking at a 40 point minimum victory to Australia.



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