The third game of the day saw the World Cups lowest ranked side Lebanon take on the top rated Australia. None of the pundits or bookies gave Brad Fittler’s Lebanon any chance of an upset and expected the host nation to sweep into the semi-finals with an unbeaten record.
Sydney Football Stadium was the venue and the crowd was bolstered by a good crowd supporting Lebanon. The Cedars were looking for a repeat of their great opening game form when the beat France and Australia were looking for a professional and clinical performance.
Australia put Lebanon under pressure from the off and on eight minutes James Maloney found Cameron Munster to go ten metres down the left wing and score in the corner. Cameron Smith was unable to add the extras from wide.
A Lebanese defensive mistake by full back Anthony Layoun led to Australia’s second try on twenty four when Maloney took an offload to go over by the sticks. This time Smith added the extras for a 10-0 lead.
It had been a great first half effort from Lebanon who had kept the best side in the world to two tries and just ten points in a real arm wrestle of a game. The Aussie crowd will have been hoping for a much better second half.
Cameron Munster got his second on forty-nine with a twenty-five metre solo try junking past the Lenabon defence and wrong footing the full back to score close to the posts. Maloney, with Smith off the field, added the extras.
Just fine minutes later and Boyd Cordner was fastest to react to a kick through when he dived on the bobbling ball to ground in the Lebanon goal area. Maloney kicked the conversion and The Kangaroos were starting to ease clear.
An awful lift by Aaron Woods on Tim Mannah saw the Aussie prop of Report on sixty-five.
Dane Gagai rose to collect a Cooper Cronk cross field kick on seventy-five without a Lebanese defender in attendance and walked over the line to ground. Maloney converted well from the touchline for 28-0 and it was mission accomplished for Australia, undefeated in the group stage and top of the group.
With just ninety second left on the clock, Tom Trbojevic was on hand to take a simple pass and go twenty metres under the sticks. Maloney added the two as the final hooter sounded for a 34-0 victory.
Unless something sensational happens in tomorrow’s England v. France game then both of these sides progress into the quarter finals. Australia justifiably retain their favourites status but all credit to Lebanon who held them at bay for long periods and who didn’t really deserve to be on the receiving end of six tries or a nilling.
Australia: Holmes, Gagai (T), T. Trbojevic (T), Munster (2T), Mansour, Maloney (T, 3G), Cronk, Woods, Smith (G), Klemmer, Cordner (T), Gillett, Kafusi. Subs: Hunt, McLean, Graham, Campbell-Gillard.
Lebanon: Layoun, Robinson, Elias, Doueihi, Misti, Moses, Farah, Mannah, Lichaa, Toal, Saab, Ellaz, Kassis. Subs: Mamary, Clark, Moujalli, Kazzi.
Referee: James Child.