Italy: 0
Lebanon: 12

    E. Lerna, D. Wilson
    Ro. Hachache, M. Jamil 2

    E. Lerna 0/2
    A. Bekdache 2/3

Match report

Lebanon’s Cedars team defied an ever growing injury toll and a gallant Italian team to scrap up a hard yet well deserved win in the opening match of the their Italy campaign. Despite losing hooker Peter Rahal in the opening ten minutes, the team adapted very quickly and showed their new style of play under new coach Rob Powell. When Captain Robin Hachache, fought his way over for the opening try, the team was well and truly in their stride. Mohamed Jamil playing his ever impressing standard added the second try just before the break.
The Cedars appeared to have the game locked up at halftime leading 12-0 and with no real line breaks coming from the Italians during the first forty minutes, it seemed all they had to do was keep their consecration high and a the game was theirs to lose. Not considering his injured hooker, the only stand out concern facing Powell was the fact his team failed to find penalty kicks for touch on no less than four occasions in the first half.
However, the home side was not going down without a fight and came storming back after the break with two unconverted tries to set the stage for a tight finish. With his team struggling to find answers to a few of the official’s rulings, the coach was hit with another blow when hard working forward Khaled Rafii went down, with what turned out to be a fractured jaw.
If he was concerned with the way things were looking for his team the Super League coach, defiantly, did not show it. Encouraging his players to keep going and stick to the game plan and his confidence must have rubbed off onto the players because instead of falling into bad habits, the team showed a new spring to their steep and tackled everything that moved. The time quickly winding down the Italian found the more they tried to go forward the more they were being pushed back and the crashing blow came in the final minute of play, after a skill full bit of individual play from debutant George Aouran, set up Jamil to walk over for his second try. Allowing, the score line to finish 16 to 8 to notch up Rob Powell’s first international win.
Powell: “I was surprised by the standard of the officiating, and do look forward to reviewing the teams performance from the video. However I am pleased with their effort and glad to get the first game out of the way.”

D. Wilson, P. Veronese, T. Robuschi, E. Lerna, F. Pavia ; L. Zollo, R. Fontana ; A. Barzan, J. Marcinczak, M. Orfano, R. Quitadamo, M. Sands, J. Dubas-Fisher. L. Torregiani. Subs: F. Grotti, J. Bonfiglio, F. Nannini, M. Soligo

A. Bekdache, P. Nasr, M. Jamil, Ru. Hachache, R. Khoury; G. Aroyan, J. Hachem ; M. Finan, P. Rahal, R. Finan; Y. El Helou, N. Saliba, Ro. Hachache. Subs: R. Akel, K. El Rafii, M. Tawil, B.Saridar, S. Mansur