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A five-star performance by Mitchell Moses helped Lebanon to all but secure a World Cup quarter-final berth against Australia after beating Ireland 32-14 in a fiery clash at Leigh Sports Village.

In the absence of suspended playmaker Adam Doueihi, Moses took it upon himself to steer the Cedars to victory in the must win clash against the Wolfhounds, which almost certainly guarantees Lebanon's place at the 2025 World Cup.

The Eels halfback laid on four of Lebanon's five tries and kicked six goals as he led his team to a comprehensive win against an ill disciplined Wolfhounds outfit, who made 18 handling errors and conceded 11 penalties.

Stand-in five-eighth Khaled Rajeb was impressive, while offloading by prop Khalil Rahme caused havoc for the Ireland defence, along with five one-on-one strips.

The only concern for the Cedars was the loss of star fullback Jacob Kiraz and prop Kayne Kalache, who was taken to hospital after a high shot by Wolfhounds and Titans forward Jaimin Jolliffe.

Match snapshot

  • Mitchell Moses opened the scoring for Lebanon with a 16th minute penalty goal after Ireland prop Liam Byrne was placed on report for a cannonball tackle on Cedars prop Khalil Rahme.
  • Reece Robinson scored Lebanon's first try four minutes later after Moses passed to Rahme and wrapped around to receive an offload from the Mounties forward before throwing a pass to former Roosters back.
  • Fullback Jacob Kiraz crossed in the 23rd minute after Moses received a pass from five-eighth Khaled Rajeb and turned the ball back inside for the Bulldogs star to spear through the defensive line and score.  
  • The Cedars went further ahead in the 30th minute when Brad Morkos scored after Josh Mansour fielded a short goal line drop out and threw an overhead pass to the unmarked Raiders centre.

Moses masterclass

  •   With his side trailing 20-0, Sydney Roosters playmaker Luke Keary got Ireland back into the game just before halftime with a long pass from a scrum win near the Lebanon line to put winger Louis Senior over in the 36th minute.
  • Both teams started the second half with 12 men after Lebanon's Jalal Bazzaz and Ireland's Rob Mulhern were sinbinned following a melee that started as the halftime siren sounded.
  • Ireland began the second half as they finished the first, with Senior scoring his second try from a long pass by halfback Joe Keyes in the 48th minute to reduce his side's deficit to 20-10.
  • Lebanon quickly regained control when Moses ran the ball on last tackle, wrapped around Rahme to receive an offload and linked with Josh Mansour to put Elie El-Zakhem over in the 53rd minute.
  • Former Manly winger Abbas Miski, who plays for Wigan extended Lebanon's lead when he scored four minutes later after a perfectly timed pass from Rajeb.


Play of the game

A one-on-one strip by Manly lock James Roumanos was the catalyst for Lebanon's opening try in the 20th minute after halves Khaled Rajeb and Mitchell Moses combined to put Reece Robinson over out wide.

What they said

"I'm a bit of a dampener unfortunately - it's not done until it's done. Fiji played Uruguay in the union World Cup and thought they had it then Uruguay came back and pinched it off them. I don't even want to put those thoughts anywhere near my head. We want to progress as far as possible," - Lebanon coach Michael Cheika. 

"We're very disappointed. I think we put a game plan together that we could have and should have executed. Fair play to Lebanon, they'd done their homework and they saw something in us that maybe I missed in terms of the ball steals. To come away with six ball rips - it's something that we need to look at going forward. I still believe in the people I've got in there and I go into Friday [against New Zealand] with the full belief that we can get a result," - Ireland coach Jed Corcoran.

What's next

Lebanon need to beat Jamaica next weekend at Leigh to secure a quarter-finals berth against Australia on November 4 in Huddersfield.

Star playmaker Adam Doueihi will return for Lebanon after being sent off for dissent in their opening match against New Zealand and suspended for the clash with Ireland.

The Wolfhounds face the Kiwis at Headingley next weekend in what will almost certainly be their final match of the tournament, and they will now need to go through a qualifying process for the 2025 World Cup in France.  



Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.