Lebanon beat Ireland in Rugby League World Cup upset

Lebanon beat Ireland in Rugby League World Cup upset
2 min read
23 October, 2022
The hot-tempered encounter has left Lebanon in a strong position to proceed to the tournament's knockout stages.
Sunday's match was the first time the two sides have met in 15 years [Getty]

Lebanon cantered to victory against Ireland in a grudge-match showdown in this year’s Rugby League World Cup on Saturday afternoon.

The Cedars’ emphatic 32-14 win over the Irish side has put Lebanon in a strong position to reach the knockout stages of the tournament, currently being held in England. 

Free-flowing play from Mitchell Moses, Jacob Kiraz and Abbas Miski put the game beyond the Celtic side.

While both teams now have two points apiece from their first two games, Ireland must beat a formidable New Zealand team to advance to the knockout stages, while Lebanon may find softer opposition in Jamaica, who are already out of the running. 

This is not the first time the two sides have clashed in a high-tempo encounter - which started off in good spirits, as captains swapped gifts of a bottle of Lebanese Arak and an Irish drum called a bodhran.

They met 15 years ago in the English town of Dewsbury for a fiercely-fought match where tempers frayed on both sides and no victor emerged, with the game ending 16-16.

Sunday’s rematch also threatened to boil over, as Lebanon's Jalal Bazzaz for Lebanon, and Ireland's Robbie Mulhern were sent to the sin bin for fighting at the end of the first half.

Despite murmurs of an Irish comeback in the second half, the Cedars stood firm, adding stylish second-half tries to seal victory.

While Lebanon’s global rugby brand is still in its infancy, bragging rights against Ireland will build their confidence as they look forward to the quarter-finals of this year’s World Cup.