Lebanon won the opening match of their two game series against Italy in Montselice, a try at the end of a bruising encounter seeing them hold on to triumph 16-8.
The Cedars defied an ever growing injury toll and a gallant Italian team to pick up a hard-earned win, despite losing hooker Peter Rahal in the opening ten minutes.
The visitors, though, were quickly in their stride and showed their new style of play under Harlequins RL acting head coach Rob Powell to great effect in a solid first half performance. Captain Robin Hachache fought his way over for the opening try and Mohamed Jamil added a second just before the break.
The Azzuri responded and came storming back with two unconverted tries from Eduardo Lerna, in the 55th minute, and Daniel Wilson with ten remaining, Edurado missing both kicks to set the stage for a tight finish.
Lebanon suffered another blow when hard working forward Khaled Rafii suffered a fractured jaw but in the final minute, after a skillful play from debutant George Aouran, Jamil went over for his second try to make it 16-8 and record Powell’s first international win.
“I am looking forward to reviewing the teams performance from the video,” said Powell.
“However I am pleased with their effort and glad to get the first game out of the way. I have been really impressed by the passion of the players for the sport. They are also really smart blokes. I have brought in some new things to help offensive and defensive structure and the lads are getting to grips with them.”
“We are also getting some more cohesion as a group which will help us reach our outcomes,” he added.
“We are looking forward to a second hit out against the Italians and although our injury toll is not welcomed, this will give the boys the opportunity to show me thier true Lebanese grit and allows me to experiment with postions as we prepare for the games in Beirut against a British Asian XIII.”
The sides meet again in Venice on Sunday evening.