Lebanon assistant coach and former Australia international Robbie Farah believes the Kangaroos are the team to beat at this year’s World Cup.
Farah, 38, made more than 300 career appearances in the NRL, and won eight caps for Australia and six for Lebanon.
He was a part of the World Cup winning side with Australia in 2013, before representing his heritage with the Cedars in 2017.
Having retired in 2019, the former hooker was appointed as Michael Cheika’s assistant coach ahead of the current World Cup campaign in England.
The side made it through to the quarter-finals, with two wins in the group stages, before being knocked out of the competition by Australia with a 48-4 scoreline in Huddersfield. And Farah believes his home nation are the front-runners to win the World Cup for the third time in a row.
“We played the Kiwis in the first round and Australia in the quarter-finals. I think Australia will be very tough to beat,” Farah told Love Rugby League.
“England have been playing well and have the home crowd. But for me, Australia are the team to beat.
“I watched England’s first game against Samoa. They were very impressive that day. I thought England played a good brand of footy.
“Victor Radley there definitely adds a lot to their game. They’ve got strike right across the field and being at home is a huge advantage. The conditions over here are quite different to back home, so that local knowledge will definitely help them.”
Robbie Farah on World Cup experience with Lebanon
Lebanon made the quarter-finals for the second time in their history during the delayed 2021 tournament, having been defeated by Tonga at the same stage of the 2017 competition. Farah captained the side during that World Cup, playing in all four games.
Cheika’s men claimed two wins in the group stages this year – over Ireland and Jamaica – to reach the quarter-finals once more.
“We’re very proud,” Farah said on reflection. “We have backed up what we achieved in the last World Cup in 2017, which was the goal.
“We’ve laid a good foundation now. We’ve got a young squad which is exciting. Out of the squad here, there might only be two guys who might not play in the next World Cup in Reece Robinson and Josh Mansour. But other than that, it’s a really young squad.
“We’re sprinkled with NRL talent. There’s some guys who play New South Wales Cup and a couple of guys on the cusp of the NRL too. There’s plenty of talent there and no doubt they’ll learn a lot from this experience.”