venue: Hostler Centre AUB, Beirut
13th February 2015
Full Match Report
U18 REPRESENTATIVE MATCH
Lebanon Under-18 defeated Saudi Select in wet and miserable conditions on Beirut’s waterfront. Interchange forward Omar Marhaba, who has been playing rugby league since he was 14, and stand-off and captain Ray Sabat were the most influential figures for Lebanon, who took advantage of the Saudi players’ discomfort to exert control in the second period.
Lebanon GMEA Avachat Youth head coach Nayef Abisaid, was quick to praise the effort put in by both sides: “This was the best game between Lebanon and Saudi Select at any age group. It was solid and physical in the middle with both teams trying to dominate the ruck. We hope the weather will be better on Sunday, and we look forward to take the championship with a double win.”
A nil-nil first half in which the visitors came closest to scoring, losing the ball over the line in the 36th minute, was punctuated by stoppages as both sides tried to get to grips with the rainy weather. A low 4-4 penalty count and strong defence added to the spectacle, but two tries in four minutes, from Chris Sassine, outstanding in the front row, and Marco Kairouz, put Lebanon in command. American Omar Fahmy’s 56th minute score cut the deficit and despite the noteworthy efforts of Argentine scrum half Gonzalo Lacouna to bring his side back another quick brace of tries put the result beyond doubt.
Saudi coach Dave Kinkead concurred with Abisaid’s view: “This was probably the best rugby league game I've seen between Saudi and Lebanon and definitely the most physical. In harsh conditions the level of play and especially the defence was superb. The score-line doesn't represent how close this game was for most of the 80 minutes and in hopefully better weather on Sunday we are looking to overturn the deficit.”
Pictured: Ray Sabat attacks the middle of the Saudi defence.
Joseph Aslan, Jeffrey Tohme, Ghayth Nasr, Elia Allam, James Haddad, Raymond Sabat, Roy Taouk, Jean Tawil, Julien Tawouk, Karim Jamal, Marco Kairouz, Habib Hadad, Robert Farajallah. Subs: Omar Marhaba, Shadi El Baz, Chris Sassine, Fouad Abou Chedid
SAUDI SELECT U18
Joshua Papanicoleou, Sultan Salem, Brad Ellis, Fawaz Mansour Noibi, Omar Fahmy, Miguel Uys, Gonzalo Lecuona, Taher Gamil, Malek Moumne, Karim Farah, Abdullah Kabbani, Muhammad Sillah, Salem Madmoun. Subs: Emir Demirhan, Omar Yamak, Hakeem Al Moukhtar, Michael Saber