Rugby League World Cup

The Kangaroos’ World Cup defence goes up a notch when they meet Lebanon in the quarter-finals in Huddersfield on Friday night

Australia and the Cedars will face off after Michael Cheika’s side thrashed Jamaica.

Two wins out of three matches in Group C has been enough for Lebanon to finish second behind New Zealand and reach the last eight, matching their finish in the 2017 World Cup.

The green and gold made short work of Italy in St Helens to top Group B.

The Kangaroos will be confident of victory, and of progressing to the semi-finals, when they take to the field at the John Smith’s Stadium.

So far they have scored 192 points, an average of 64 per game, and conceded just three tries, an average of one per match.

Mal Meninga has an awesome squad at his disposal and the toughest decision will be who to leave out, especially amongst his three halves Cam Munster, Nathan Cleary and Daly Cherry-Evans, with only two to feature.

Josh Addo-Carr has already scored six tries in this World Cup, with four for James Tedesco and four for Campbell Graham.

Australia and Lebanon have played each other just once before, back in the 2017 group stage, where the Kangaroos won 34-0 in Sydney.

But the two countries each strong links with many of the Cedars squad born and raised down under.

Coach Cheika is a proud Lebanese-Australian, who grew up in Sydney, along with the likes of Mitchell Moses and Adam Doueihi.

Winger Josh Mansour played seven Tests for the Kangaroos, and helped them win the last World Cup, but is now representing the country of his father.

Most of Lebanon’s team play either in the NRL or in NSW-based competitions for clubs such as Newtown, Western Suburbs, Mount Pritchard, Wentworthville and Ryde-Eastwood.

There will be an air of familiarity, but no quarter given, when the two countries clash in west Yorkshire.

Australian Kangaroos:

  1. James Tedesco
  2. Josh Addo-Carr
  3. Valentine Holmes
  4. Latrell Mitchell
  5. Campbell Graham
  6. Cameron Munster
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans
  8. Jake Trbojevic
  9. Harry Grant
  10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
  11. Angus Crichton
  12. Isaah Yeo
  13. Cameron Murray
  14. Jack Wighton
  15. Patrick Carrigan
  16. Nathan Cleary
  17. Reuben Cotter

Lebanon Cedars:

  1. Jacob Kiraz
  2. Josh Mansour
  3. Brad Morkos
  4. Reece Robinson
  5. Abbas Miski
  6. Adam Doueihi
  7. Mitchell Moses
  8. James Roumanos
  9. Andrew Kazzi
  10. Khalil Rahme
  11. Elie El-Zakhem
  12. Charbel Tasipale
  13. Jalal Bazzaz
  14. Kayne Kalache
  15. Hanna El-Nachar
  16. Anthony Layoun
  17. Jaxson Rahme

John is a freelance journalist who has been writing about rugby league for the past decade. He covered the 2013 and 2017 World Cups, has appeared on TV and radio, and been published in The I-Paper, The Guardian, The Sun, The Mirror, League Express, Inside Sport magazine and Big League. He writes regularly for Forty-20 magazine, League Weekly and co-hosts the podcasts By the Balls and Six To Go.