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By John Davidson, Date: 1/11/17

Venue: Sydney Football Stadium, NSW, Australia

TV Kick-off time: Saturday 4th November 2017, 8pm AEDT

England is out to bounce back by beating Lebanon in the World Cup after going down to Australia in round one.

 

 

By John Davidson, Date: 1/11/17

Venue: Sydney Football Stadium, NSW, Australia

TV Kick-off time: Saturday 4th November 2017, 8pm AEDT

England is out to bounce back by beating Lebanon in the World Cup after going down to Australia in round one.

 

England, one of the favourites in the World Cup along with the hosts and New Zealand, ran the Kangaroos hard but lost by 14 points. They need to defeat both Lebanon and France to ensure they secure second place in Group A for the easier route to the quarter-finals.

England coach Wayne Bennett has stayed with largely the same 17 that took on the green and gold in Melbourne. John Bateman remains in the centres, with injured Sam Burgess making way for Ben Currie off the bench.

Alex Walmsley is fit again and will make his Test debut off the bench. Bennett admits he knows little about what kind of opponent Lebanon will be on Saturday. England have never faced the Cedars before and they are largely an unknown.

“The bigger challenge is here, not the opposition,” he said.

“Over the next two games I’m looking for us to do more things right and more things better. We just want to do things better than we did last week, that’s our challenge.

“There won’t be changes in key areas, it’s just doing those things that we’ve been working on since I came to the team last year. We’re much better though and there’s been some big improvements.”

With western Sydney boasting a large Lebanese-Australian population, the Cedars could enjoy strong support at the Sydney Football Stadium but Bennett is unconcerned.

“The English players are used to a great atmosphere, so it won’t worry them,” he said.

“You don’t want to play in a game without atmosphere, it makes the occasion and the players play better. I hope the English fans went away from Melbourne with plenty of optimism that we’ve got a good team here that just needs to be a bit better.”
Lebanon coach Brad Fittler has rotated his squad from the one that edged past France by 11 points.

Daniel About-Sleiman, Bilal Maarbani and Adam Douehi make up a new back four. Michael Lichaa will start at hooker in front of Andrew Kazzi. Alex Twal will start instead of coming off the bench, while Raymound Moujalli, Jason Wehbe and Jamie Clark have also been handed starting spots.

A lot of Lebanon’s play will revolve around the halves partnership of Mitchell Moses and Robbie Farah, and their combination with Lichaa. It is expected England will run a number of there big forwards, including Tom Burgess and Walmsley, to tire that trio out.

England 2017 RLWC Team:
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)
14 Alex WALMSLEY
15 Chris HEIGHINGTON
16 Thomas BURGESS
17 James ROBY

18 George WILLIAMS
19 Mike McMEEKAN
20 Mark PERCIVAL
21 Stefan RATCHFORD

Lebanon 2017 RLWC Team:
1 Daniel ABOU-SLEIMAN
2 Travis ROBINSON
3 Bilal MAARBANI
4 Adam DOUEIHI
5 Abbas MISKI
6 Mitchell MOSES
7 Robbie FARAH ©
8 Tim MANNAH
9 Michael LICHAA
10 Alex TWAL
11 Chris SAAB
12 Ahmad ELLAZ
13 Nick KASSIS
14 Mitchell MAMARY
15 Raymond MOUJALLI
16 Jamie CLARK
17 Jason WEHBE

18 Elias SUKKAR
19 Anthony LAYOUN
20 Andrew KAZZI
21 James ELIAS