The Lebanese Rugby League Federation has announced their 2014 representative squads.
Domestic-based players have been divided into a President’s XIII, Federation’s XIII and the U20’s Espoirs, the trio facing off in a round robin contest at the Lebanese University in Beirut on June 7, 11 and 14, after which the Cedars train-on squad will be named.
That national selection will then begin its month long training for a match against a UAE select team that will travel out to Beirut on July 18, with both teams using that game as preparation for the upcoming MEA Championship in October/November.
That will take place in the UAE and the Tri-Series will also feature South Africa.
Espoir coach Mikhael Shammas is eager to see how his young locals will fair. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to coach this exceptionally talented group of athletes,” he said. “ Without any shadow of a doubt, I know they represent the shining future of our sport and will showcase the domestic talents that are being harboured within the LRLF Competitions – only through fire can the sword be forged.”
Nayef Abi-Saïd, the President’s XIII coach is adamant his side will not fall victim to complacency as he chases another series victory. Confidence is high in his camp and they will enter the encounters as favourites courtesy having a more experienced pack, where he believes the game will be won or lost.
“We need to sit down and have a bit of a chat about our direction and what we need to do in the first game to give ourselves a good opportunity of playing well” Abi-Saïd said. “I will be stressing that victory is not a mere formality, we will have to earn it.”
Meanwhile Faysal Jaber, the Federation XIII coach, commented: “If you look at our team on paper, you would call us underdogs because we don’t have those stars. But we don’t mind the tag. It does not bother me or the team. Unlike the other teams, I will be relying on our uncapped players and we will be fighting and competing right till the end.”.
Federation’s XIII squad:
M. Salameh (AUL), R. Hachache, T. Hammoud, A. Itani, K. Jammal, Y. Khoury, H. Shaheen (Immortals), A. Awad, S. Sokhen (Jounieh), E. Khoury (LIU), S. Ashtan, A. Connolly, W. Harb, A. Lattouf (Redbacks), R. Abboud, S. Assaf, O. Baltajie, M. Elias, M. Moubarak, G. Osman (Tripoli), J.M. Rizkallah (Wolves). Head Coach Faysal Jaber (Redbacks)
President’s XIII squad:
M. Azar (AUL) O. Jaroush, J. Rmeily, M. Finan, R. Finan, D. Mikkawi (Immortals), G. Dandach, S. Moubarak, P. Nasr, (Jounieh), T. Abdo (LIU), F. Andari, G. Hammoudeh, H. Sahily, R. Zebian, Joe Ziedan (Redbacks), S. Fadel, S. Neghme, T. Moubarak, R. Tohme (Tripoli), J. Dirani, H. Zidan (Wolves), Head Coach Nayef Abi Said (Immortals)
Espoir U20 squad:
G. Yazbeck (HSB), C. Dalati, A. Merj, H. Murdaa, J. Sakr (Immortals), R. Sabat, S. Abi Saab, J. Tannous, R. Taouk (Jounieh), Ziad Agha, F. Andari, B. Barqawi, A. Bowles, T. Faycal, T. Hajj, J. Hamwi, M. Kik, M. Noureddine, R. Osserian ( Redbacks), E. Allam, R. Haddad, A. Mallah (SJS), O. Marhaba, K. Sassine (Tripoli), I. Chidiac, Ali Kanj, L. Savadogo, F.Shublaq (Wolves) Head Coach Mikhael Shammas (Wolves)
Federation’s XIII v President’s XIII, Saturday, 7th June @ 4:00pm at Lebanese University Beirut
President’s XIII v Espoir U20s, Wednesday, 11th June @ 7:00pm at Lebanese University Beirut
Federation’s XIII v Espoir U20s, Saturday, 14th June @ 4:00pm at Lebanese University Beirut