Wales to face Lebanon in World Cup warm-up

Warrington's Ben Currie and Swinton's Rhodri Lloyd in action during the Betfred Challenge Cup match at Heywood Road, Sale

Wales will take on Lebanon in a World Cup warm-up match at Heywood Road, home of Swinton Lions.

The game will take place on Saturday October 8 at 3pm, a week before the start of the highly-anticipated World Cup.

It will be their first meeting since a Lebanon beat Wales 50-26 in a World Cup qualifier at Widnes back in 2007.

In announcing the fixture, Lions CEO Steve Wild said: “At Swinton we are absolutely thrilled and honoured to be hosting this incredibly attractive pre-World Cup warm-up match
between Wales and Lebanon.

“Firstly I want to thank our stadium hosts Sale FC Rugby Club for their enthusiasm and co-operation in making the game a reality. This event underlines the fantastic relationship we enjoy at Heywood Road.

“Going back to our Station Road days, Swinton Lions has a long tradition of hosting international matches, and it’s a great pleasure to be able to resurrect that tradition at Sale. Perhaps we’ll even see a couple of Swinton lads in the Welsh line-up, with Rhodri Lloyd and Mike Butt hopefully making the squad.

“We also hope that the Greater Manchester public, including of course the Lebanese community and those with a Welsh affiliation, will take this opportunity to see some
top class international rugby league at Heywood Road, which is only 4 miles from Old Trafford, the venue for the World Cup Final itself.

“Both competing nations have been a pleasure to deal with in the build-up, and I’ve no doubt that we will see a wonderful celebration of our sport on 8th October.”

MORE: How Lebanon could line-up at the Rugby League World Cup

World Cup preparations

Lebanon’s first game in the World Cup is against New Zealand at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on October 16.

They also face Ireland and Jamaica, both at Leigh Sports Village, in the group stages.

Wales are in a group with Cook Islands, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, with their games being played at Leigh, St Helens and Doncaster.

Wales RL chair, Brian Juliff, added: “Lebanon are a quality team, coached by former Australian Rugby Union stalwart Michael Chieka, and populated with a core of experienced Australian NRL players. This will provide us with a perfect match as we prepare our squad to face very similar opposition in the qualifying rounds at the finals.

“Our opening game at the World Cup is against the Cook Islands who are of a similar player group to Lebanon, so this game will be formative to our preparations. We
anticipate a tough and entertaining encounter against Lebanon, and we will field our strongest team in front of a big crowd.”

Wales played their first men’s international in more than 1,300 days back in June, when they were beaten 34-10 by France in Albi.

It will be their third meeting with Lebanon – the first coming back at the 2000 World Cup, when Wales won 24-22 in Llanelli.

Tickets will be priced at £12 adults and £3 for under 16s, or £15 and £5 for seating tickets, available via the Swinton website.

About James Gordon 7161 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.

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