PREVIEW: England v Lebanon

Jonny Lomax is the one to watch for England on Saturday

England look to get their first points on the board in Group A when they take on the in-form Lebanon on Saturday.

The Three Lions just fell short to tournament favourites Australia 18-4 in the opening game of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup last Friday but England played really well in the game and pushed the Kangaroos for large parts of the game.

On the other hand, Lebanon surprised many last week as they played some exciting rugby as they beat France 29-18, with Parramatta Eels star Mitchell Moses putting in a man of the match display while Robbie Farah led the side excellently.

Australia and Lebanon are currently in the top two of Group A with two points while England and France have no points.

The game on Saturday will be the first ever meeting between the Cedars and the Three Lions and will be the first time that England will have played a country from Asia since the 2004 European Nations when they beat Russia.

England have made a couple of changes to their side, with Ben Currie lining up in the back-row in place of the injured Sam Burgess while Alex Walmsley comes in on the bench.

Lebanon have Daniel Abou-Sleiman coming into the side at full-back along with Bilal Maarbani, Chris Saab, Jamie Clark, Jason Wehbe and Fraymound Moujalli who didn’t play in the historic win over France.


There will be a number of key areas all over the field which will make exciting viewing but the key battle will be in the hooker roles between England’s Josh Hodgson and Lebanon’s Michael Lichaa.

Hodgson had a solid game for England last year and has cemented a starting spot at Canberra Raiders since moving to the NRL from Hull KR while James Roby will also be entertaining when he comes on at hooker from the bench.

Lichaa, 24, has had been fantastic for Canterbury Bulldogs in the last couple of seasons, making over 60 appearances since 2015. He is really good player and will try to catch Hodgson out on a couple of occasions with his quick play from dummy-half.


 The one to watch who has the chance to really come into his own on Saturday is Jonny Lomax. The St Helens star has been brilliant in Super League for a couple of years now and he has been handed the England No. 1 jersey and his explosiveness could damage Lebanon.

The Cedars were great last week against France and Mitchell Moses was the star in that game but the one to watch this week is Alex Twal. He is a fantastic front-rower who goes very much under the radar and statistically, was one of the best props in the first round of the World Cup last week.


ENGLAND: 1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Jermaine McGillvary, 3. Kallum Watkins, 4. John Bateman, 5. Ryan Hall, 6. Gareth Widdop, 7. Luke Gale, 8. Chris Hill, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. James Graham, 11. Ben Currie, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Sean O’Loughlin (C). Subs: 14. Alex Walmsley, 15. Chris Heighington, 16. Tom Burgess, 17. James Roby. Reserves: 18. George Williams, 19. Mike McMeeken, 20. Mark Percival, 21. Stefan Ratchford.

LEBANON: 1. Daniel Abou-Sleiman, 2. Travis Robinson, 3. Bilal Maarbani, 4. Adam Doueihi, 5. Abbas Miski, 6. Mitchell Moses, 7. Robbie Farah (C), 8. Tim Mannah, 9. Michael Lichaa, 10. Alex Twal, 11. Chris Saab, 12. Ahmad Ellaz, 13. Nick Kassis. Subs: 14. Mitchell Mamary, 15. Raymound Moujalli, 16. Jamie Clark, 17. Jason Wehbe. Reserves: 18. Elias Sukkar, 19. Anthony Layoun, 20. Andrew Kazzi, 21. Jamie Elias.


Referee – Ben Thaler, Touch Judges – Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski & Liam Moore, Video Referee – Phil Bentham.


England are the favourites to beat Lebanon and are expected to win but Lebanon should be well respected going into the game because they can play some good rugby. predicts that the Three Lions will run-out winners by 18 points. 

How do you see the game going? Who will win? Let us know in the comments below.

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