RIVALRIES RENEWED BETWEEN IRELAND AND LEBANON
They say that lightening never strikes twice but on the previous two occasions that Lebanon have met Ireland on the international rugby league field, the contests have ended in feisty drawn encounters.
On the last occasion, in Dewsbury two years ago, the point gained from the encounter saw the Wolfhounds deny the Cedars a place in the 2008 World Cup.
On Sunday, in the rugbyleague.com European Cup ranking match – the second game of a triple-header Finals Day in South Wales – the two go head to head to see who finishes third in this season’s competition.
On Bonfire Night in 2006, in the first of the no hold’s barred clashes, at Tolka Park, Dublin the home side were able to seize a share of the points following Stuart Littler’s last gasp leveller.
In the return clash, staged in Yorkshire owing to political instability in Lebanon at the time, ill-disciplined Cedars fought back from 12-4 down to take a late 16-14 lead on 76 minutes, but a disputed penalty for a high tackle allowed Chris Bridge to slot over a goal and tie the scores.
Two exciting but controversial draws left an aggregate score of 34-34, but it was the Irish who were Australia-bound following a superior point’s differential in a group also containing Russia.
With the likelihood of further meetings in the run up to the qualifiers for the 2013 World Cup, Sunday is a chance for one of the sides to put down a significant marker.
It promises to be a humdinger.
Tickets for the rugbyleague.com European Cup Finals Day are priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions with a family ticket priced at £25 and these are available by calling 08448 561 115 or visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk.
rugbyleague.com European Cup Finals Day
10.30am - Serbia v Italy - The Old Parish, Maesteg RFC
12.15pm - Lebanon v Ireland - Brewery Field, Bridgend
4.00pm – European Cup Final - Wales v Scotland - Brewery Field, Bridgend (on Sky Sports 3 from 3.30pm)