Lebanon move one step closer to WC qualification

Lebanon overcame unfamiliar freezing temperatures to beat Russia 32-0 in Vereya to stay on course for a 2013 Rugby League World Cup berth.

The Cedars, whose preparation was hampered by a lack of training facilities and a three hour journey to the ground, struggled to come to terms with the biting wind and small pitch but still posted six tries.

Five of them came in the first half as the visitors proved strong up the middle and in support around the play the ball but in the second period they only added one further touchdown, in part because of the resolute Russian defence, but also as they forced passes and squandered possession.

Full back Cliff Nye opened the scoring in the sixth minute, snapping up a loose ball and cantering 40 metres for an unconverted try. Just as he had in Lebanon’s opening qualifying clash against Serbia last week, centre Danny Barakat posted a brace of touchdowns, crossing in the 18th minute to extend the lead to 10-0 with Nadim Couri’s first of three goals, and again a minute before the break.

Nick Kassis went in for a try just before the half hour and Adham El Zabedieh on the following set, Couri goaling both. The only scores after the interval was a four-pointer to back rower Steve Azzi in the 64th minute, goaled by James Boustani.

Lebanon coach David Baysarri was satisfied just to come away with a victory. “It’s a win, but a lot of factors affected our performance,” he said. “We had to endure freezing conditions, which we weren’t used to.”

His opposite number John Stankevitch felt his charges were competitive. “I was very pleased with our defensive effort,” he noted. “I was particularly happy with how we managed to tighten things up in the second half, and overall I was pleased with the enthusiasm of the players.”

Russian Bears:
Tries: -
Goals:
-
Team:
Maksim Suchkov, Mikhail Burlutskiy, Petr Botnarash, Vadim Fedchuk, Rustam Bulanov, Aleksander Lysokon (c), Eduard Ososkov, Sergey Konstantinov, Vladimir Vlasyuk, Ilgiz Galimov, Alexey Nikolaev, Grigory Esin, Sergey Gaponov. Subs: Igor Chuprin, Anatoly Grygorev, Vladimir Odnosumov, Artem Grigoryan

Lebanon Cedars:
Tries:
Danny Barakat 2, Cliff Nye, Nick Kassis, Adham El Zabedieh, Steve Azzi
Goals: Nadim Couri 3 from 5, James Boustani 1 from 1
Team: Cliff Nye, Adnan El Zabedieh, Danny Barakat, Danny Chiha, Adham El Zabedieh, James Boustani, Nadim Couri, Charlie Farah, Jamie Clark, Khaled Deeb, Nick Kassis, Steve Azzi, Ray Moujali. Subs: Walid Yassine, Ibrahim Ballout, Chris Saab, Robin Hachache