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28 Oct 2017 by TSZ

2017 Rugby League World Cup - France vs Lebanon Preview

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The Lowdown

FRANCE

  • Under the tutlege of Aurélien Cologni, France will be hoping they can at least match their efforts in the 2013 World Cup when they reached the quarter-finals.
  • Their squad feels a little underwhelming considering how much rugby league has developed in France since the introduction of Catalans Dragons to Super League and Toulouse to the lower leagues.
  • Theo Fages is the star man for the French and will be hoping to strike a good partnership with William Barthau. They will be playing behind a decent pack but they lack quality in the outside backs and that could be their downfall.

Head Coach: Aurélien Cologni

Team: Kheirallah; Yaha, Ader, Cardace, Bergal; Fages, Barthau; Maria, Pelissier, Bousquet, Garcia, Jullien, Baitieri

Bench: Boyer, Djalout, Margalet, Albert

LEBANON

  • Lebanon make their return to the World Cup in what will be only their second ever appearance, 17 years after their sole qualification.
  • They are captained by South Sydney Rabbitohs' Robbie Farah and have a couple of other NRL stars in their ranks in the form of Mitchell Moses and Michael Lichaa.
  • Australian legend Brad Fittler will be hoping his side can produce some solid displays to boost his own chances of becoming part of the New South Wales coaching setup.

Head Coach: Brad Fittler

Team: Layoun; Robinson, Elias, Wehbe, Miski; Moses, Farah; Mannah, Lichaa, Twal, Saab, Ellaz, Kassis

Bench: Mamary, Sukkar, Seve-Derbas, Kazzi

Analysis - what to expect
France begin their World Cup campaign in what is a do-or-die contest against Lebanon with the loser facing the likelihood of finishing bottom of the group. France's squad feels short on genuine quality with Lebanon having a few star players that could cause problems as well as some youngsters who will be out to impress watching scouts. France are slight favourites in what appears to be the tightest game to call from the opening round but it's Lebanon who can just nick this.

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