On Saturday England laboured past a Lebanese team with a 29-10 victory in Sydney. Lebanon were looking for their 2nd every world cup victory following last weekend’s shock win over France, but still couldn’t really scare England despite creating some excellent opportunities.
England coach Wayne Bennett made a few changes to the side that performed so well the week before against current holders Australia, bringing in Stefan Ratchford for the Injured Jonny Lomax and fellow Warrington Wolves star Ben Currie into the 2nd row to replace the injured Sam Burgess, Alex Walmsley moved onto the bench for his look awaited debut while George Williams came in for the rested James Roby.
The firm favourites raced into a 22-6 half time lead thanks to tries from Kallum Watkins, Jermaine McGillvary, Ryan Hall and Ben Currie, but never looked like getting the cricket score most people expected. Earlier in the half, Lebanon loose forward had cancelled out Watkins opener when he reacted quickest to a kick into the England in goal area.
The second half was a scrappy affair as England lost all fluency as they struggled to break the Lebanese defence, with only a 40 meter effort to rampaging prop Tom Burgess and a last minute Gareth Widdop drop goal to add to their first half account, While Lebanon responded with a try to substitute Jason Wehbe.
To add more misery to the day, possible England’s best player over the past two games, wing man Jermaine McGillivary was accused of biting and will now face a disciplinary on Wednesday.
Next up for England is France this weekend, were victory will see them qualify for the knock out stages, while Lebanon will face the mighty Australians who beat France 52-6 in Canberra on Friday.
Should England beat France, Lebanon will cement 3rd place in group A and a chance of playing World Cup knock out football for the first time ever.
England: Ratchford; McGillvary, Watkins, Bateman, Hall; Widdop, Gale; Hill, Hodgson, Graham, Currie, Whitehead, O'Loughlin.
Interchanges: Walmsley, Heighington, T Burgess, Williams.
Lebanon: Daniel Abou-Sleiman, Travis Robinson, Bilal Maarbani, Adam Doueihi, Abbas Miski, Mitchell Moses, Robbie Farah, Tim Mannah, Jamie Clark, Mitchell Mamary, Alex Twal, Ahmad Ellaz, Nick Kassis.
Interchanges: Ray Moujalli, Michael Lichaa, Jason Wehbe, Elias Sukkar.
Referee: Ben Thaler