Lebanon and Wales Men will meet as part of their Rugby League World Cup preparations at Swinton Lions RLFC, Heywood Road, Sale, on Saturday 8 October, with a 3pm kick-off.
Wales Chairman Brian Juliff, himself a former international, is excited about the clash.
“Wales Rugby League is eagerly looking forward to the pre-World Cup fixture against Lebanon” he said. “Lebanon are a quality team, coached by former Australian Rugby Union stalwart Michael Chieka, and populated with a core of experienced Australian NRL players. This will provide us with a perfect match as we prepare our squad to face very similar opposition in the qualifying rounds at the finals.”
The game will be the only friendly for both sides before Wales meet the Cook Islands and Lebanon meet New Zealand in the World Cup.
“Our opening game at the World Cup is against the Cook Islands who are of a similar player group to Lebanon, so this game will be formative to our preparations. We anticipate a tough and entertaining encounter against Lebanon, and we will field our strongest team in front of a big crowd at Heywood Road" added Juliff.
For Lebanon, the game provides an ideal opportunity to acclimatise to the conditions they will face once the tournament kicks off.
“We are very much looking forward to playing Wales at the Swinton Lions home ground" noted LRLF CEO Nayef Abi Said. "The Dragons are a very tough opponent, but we are excited for the challenge. In the larger picture, this match will aid toward our preparedness and hopefully another successful World Cup campaign.”
For Swinton Lions, it will be the latest international game in a long line of games the club has hosted during its history and CEO Steve Wild is excited about the prospect of adding a further game to that list.
“At Swinton we are absolutely thrilled and honoured to be hosting this incredibly attractive pre-World Cup warm-up match between Wales and Lebanon" he commented. "Firstly I want to thank our stadium hosts Sale FC Rugby for their enthusiasm and co-operation in making the game a reality. This event underlines the fantastic relationship we enjoy at Heywood Road.
“Going back to our Station Road days, Swinton Lions has a long tradition of hosting international matches, and it’s a great pleasure to be able to resurrect that tradition at Sale. Perhaps we’ll even see a couple of Swinton lads in the Welsh line-up, with Rhodri Lloyd and Mike Butt hopefully making the squad."
“We also hope that the Greater Manchester public, including of course the Lebanese community and those with a Welsh affiliation, will take this opportunity to see some top class international rugby league at Heywood Road, which is only 4 miles from Old Trafford, the venue for the World Cup Final itself. Both competing nations have been a pleasure to deal with in the build-up, and I’ve no doubt that we will see a wonderful celebration of our sport on 8th October.”
Admission will be by ticket only, and tickets are now on sale from the Swinton Lions website at Match Tickets & Fan Info — Swinton Lions RLFC