Lebanon beat Ireland to close in on quarter-finals

Lebanon (20) 32
Tries: Robinson, Kiraz, Morkos, El-Zakhem, Miski Goals: Moses 6
Ireland (4) 14
Tries: L Senior 2, Chamberlain Goal: Chamberlain

Lebanon are in pole position to make the Rugby League World Cup quarter-finals after a 32-14 win over Ireland.

Tries from Reece Robinson, Jacob Kiraz and Brandon Morkos helped the dominant Cedars into a 20-4 lead at the break.

Louis Senior’s second try gave Ireland hope but Lebanon hit back with Elie El-Zakhem and Abbas Miski tries before a late Ed Chamberlain try for Ireland.

Both sides have two points but Lebanon face bottom side Jamaica in the final game while Ireland meet New Zealand.

It would take a vastly improved performance from Ireland to have a chance of overcoming the group leaders after being comfortably beaten by an impressive Lebanon side in Leigh.

Lebanon ran in five tries with Mitchell Moses converting all but one and they are now expected to join the Kiwis in the last eight.

They took control – helped by Irish ill-discipline – after a tight and tense opening 15 minutes with a Moses penalty followed by Robinson finishing a slick passing move by sliding in at the corner.

A no-look Moses pass set Kiraz free to run straight through for the second try before Morkos was released by Josh Mansour to go over for the third.

Irish pair Toby King and Frankie Hatton tackle Lebanon’s Elie El-Zakhem

Ireland were 20-0 behind with just over 30 minutes gone but they finished the first half strongly.

A video review spotted a knock-on after Robbie Mulhern grounded the ball, but the Wolfhounds scored a try seconds later as Senior collected a Luke Keary pass before going in at the corner.

A melee just before the break resulted in yellow cards for Mulhern and Lebanon’s Jalal Bazzaz.

Ireland pressed on the restart and when Senior crossed with ease for a converted try on 48 minutes, just 10 points separated the sides and the fightback was on.

However, it was soon snuffed out as Lebanon regrouped with El-Zakhem going over in the corner after good work from Moses.

A set play from Lebanon ended with Kiraz feeding Miski and the Wigan winger was free to go over unopposed.

Liam Byrne was sin-binned for a late tackle on Moses, before Keary set up Chamberlain to sprint down the wing for Ireland’s third try with two minutes left.

Ireland finish their Group C games against New Zealand on Friday, with Lebanon in action against Jamaica two days later.

Lebanon: Kiraz; Mansour, Morkos, Robinson, Miski; Rajeb, Moses; Kalache, Kazzi, K Rahme, El-Zakhem, Tasipale, Roumanos.

Interchanges: Bazazz, Layoun, Maarbani, J Rahme.

Ireland: Myler; L Senior, Chamberlain, T King, I Senior; Keary, Keyes; Byrne, O’Hagan, Jolliffe, Bentley, Halton, G King.

Interchanges: Cook, Rushton, Mulhern, Hasson.

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