Wales: 6
Lebanon: 24

Match report

Wales’ final match before Rugby League World Cup 2021 ended in defeat at Heywood Road.

Lebanon scored eight tries, with Wales responding through Anthony Walker, Curtis Davies (2) and Kyle Evans.

All 24 players in the World Cup squad featured for Wales, with Kyle Evans and Caleb Aekins making their international debuts and seven players who currently play, or have played, for host club Swinton Lions, took to the field.

It was the perfect start for Wales when on four minutes, Walker came charging onto the ball close to the line and went over under the sticks, leaving James Olds with a simple conversion. 

Lebanon responded on 11 minutes as Khaled Rajeb supported the break of Joshua Maree to score under the sticks. The Cedars made it back-to-back tries from the following set, with Kiraz showing great pace to burst through the centre of the field and race 40 metres to the try line. Doueihi was only able to convert one of the scores, giving Lebanon a 10-6 lead after 15 minutes. 

The Lebanese were next to strike, too, as Elie El-Zakhem had enough strength to withstand three Welsh tacklers and ground the ball on the try line. It could have been worse for John Kear’s men moments later when Elliot Kear was beaten in the aerial duel by Abbas Miski, only for the winger to be ruled offside in his kick-chase. 

It was a reprieve that only lasted a matter of minutes, when a Rajeb grubber was hunted down first by Michael Tannous.  

Wales had a chance to add to their early score when Walker picked up on a loose pass and set Ralph clear. The scrum-half raced 40 metres into the Lebanon half before opting to kick for the chasing James Olds, but Lebanon cleared up. 

Then get a moment of quality just before the hooter, with Adam Doueihi looping a pass over the head of Rhys Williams and into the arms of Josh Mansour, to give Lebanon a 24-6 half-time lead. 

Wales had enjoyed little front foot ball throughout the first half, but a strong carry from Tom Hopkins set them on their way. Josh Ralph took advantage to run at the line, ably supported by Curtis Davies, who finished next to the posts and giving Elliot Kear a straightforward conversion attempt. 

He repeated the feat from the next set, after Ben Evans crossed over the halfway line untouched, offloading to Curtis Davies who finished from 30 metres. Kear’s second conversion brought Wales to within six points. 

After that quickfire double, the next score came from the Cedars, working an overlap on the left hand side that provided the opportunity for Tony Maroun to finish in the corner, and when Bilal Maabani crossed in almost the same spot minutes later, it gave Lebanon a commanding 32-18 lead with 15 minutes remaining. 

There was still fire in the Welsh dragon, and after a neat inside ball from Ralph sent Butler racing clear, Lebanon were in retreat. Fozard picked the pass from the next play and found Kyle Evans who finished acrobatically in the corner. 

Andrew Kazzi scored with a couple minutes left on the clock, with Abbas Miski’s conversion finishing the scoring for the afternoon.  

Mike Butt, James Olds, Rhys Evans, Luis Roberts, Rhys Williams, Ollie Olds, Josh Ralph, Anthony Walker, Matty Fozard, Dan Fleming, Rhodri Lloyd, Bailey Antrobus, Gavin Bennion. Subs: Caleb Aekins, Joe Burke, Chester Butler, Connor Davies, Curtis Davies, Ben Evans, Kyle Evans, Dalton Grant, Tom Hopkins, Elliot Kear.

Jacob Kiraz, Abbas Miski, Reece Robinson, Brad Morkos, Josh Mansour, Adam Doueihi, Khaled Rajab, Toufic El-Hajj, Michael Tannous, Hanna El Nachar, Elie El Zakhem, Josh Maree, James Roumanos. Subs: Jalal Bazzaz, Anthony Layoun, Andrew Kazzi, Bilal Maarbani, Michel Toum, Jaxson Rahme, Tony Maroun, Khalil Rahme, Robin Hachache, Kahil Bejjani, Sol Mokdad