Wales and Lebanon announce World Cup warm-up match

Published by Wales Rugby League
10 Aug 2022

Lebanon and Wales are set to finalise their preparations for the World Cup with a warm-up match at Swinton on Saturday, October 8.

The third meeting between the two nations will be played just a week before the opening World Cup fixture at Newcastle's St James Park, in which England will host a star-studded Samoa team.

Lebanon, who are also planning another warm-up fixture under the coaching of Michael Cheika, Matt King, Robbie Farah and Jake Friend before their arrival in England, face New Zealand in their opening World Cup match on October 16 at Warrington.

The Cedars, who qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2017 World Cup, also play Ireland and Jamaica in Group C matches.

Cheika's team is expected to include NRL stars Mitchell Moses (Eels), Adam Doueihi (Tigers), Jacob Kiraz (Bulldogs) and Josh Mansour (Rabbitohs), while the fitness of prop Alex Twal is being monitored after he was ruled out for the season with the Tigers. 

Wales open their World Cup campaign against Cook Islands at Leigh Sports Village on October 19 before meeting Tonga and Papua New Guinea in Group D pool matches.

Wales Rugby League is eagerly looking forward to the pre-World Cup fixture against Lebanon Rugby League," Wales Rugby League chair Brian Juliff said. 

“Lebanon are a quality team, coached by former Australian rugby union stalwart Michael Cheika, and populated with a core of experienced NRL players.

"This will provide us with a perfect match as we prepare our squad to face very similar opposition in the group stages of the World Cup.

“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 at Heywood Road, Sale."

Swinton Lions duo Rhodri Lloyd and Mike Butt are both hoping to feature in World Cup for the Dragons, with Butt a try scorer in Wales' last international outing against France in June.

“We are very much looking forward to playing Wales at the Swinton Lions home ground," said Lebanese Rugby League Federation CEO Nayef Abi Said.

"The Dragons are a very tough opponent, but we are excited for the challenge. In the larger picture, this match will aid toward our preparedness and hopefully another successful World Cup campaign.”

“Underlying all, Lebanon has always held an unwavering respect toward and for the Welsh team, fans and nation as a whole, and it will prove another great honour to face them on the field."

Photo: Mike Butt (Wales)- David Gibson Photography