A Lebanese teenager has been left in tears after being cruelly denied a debut at the World Cup nines because he is under 18.
Jordan Samrani, 17, was warming up for the Cedars' must-win clash against Wales on Saturday when the team was informed he was too young to play.
The directive came 24 hours after another 17-year-old in Jacob Kiraz helped Lebanon upset France in their opening pool match.
The NRL later stripped Lebanon of the two points they won against the French.
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The Cedars were seemingly on their way into the final four at Bankwest Stadium after stunning England 16-13 in their second pool match.
However, Rick Stone's men were left deflated after Samrani and Kiraz were told they couldn't take the field against the Welsh.
A shoulder injury to Ahmad Harajly left them with just 13 available players and Lebanon eventually fell 25-14 in a fiery encounter.
"We were really up for the first two games and we just lacked a little bit of energy. Starts are really important in the nines game," Stone said.
"Maybe lost a bit of confidence and a little bit of belief there but that's the way the game goes."
Kiraz, who recently signed with North Queensland after playing SG Ball with the St George Dragons, also debuted in a midyear Test against Fiji.
The Cowboys promoted Kiraz on social media as the 17-year-old at the nines.
It's understood NRL officials were also scrambling for the identification of a third Lebanese player in Johnny Lee Gabrael, who played in the final two games.
Tournament organisers later claimed the the onus was on the nations to ensure their players were eligible to take part.
The farcical scenes soured a fairytale run for a Lebanon side that boasted no NRL experience because of a dispute with the current board.
This Lebanon drama is arguably the biggest farce of the season, and that's saying something. The Cedars played an underage player on Friday night, and nothing was said. Only became an issue when another player was put on team list just before kick off on Saturday. #WorldCupNines— Scott Bailey (@ScottBaileyAAP) October 19, 2019
Honestly. This is a farce. The NRL are scrambling asking for a Lebanon players driver's license. Wouldn't someone have checked all this BEFORE the tournament? One of the "under-aged" played on Friday night. #worldcupnines— Michael Carayannis (@MCarayannis) October 19, 2019
Robbie Farah, Josh Mansour and Alex Tawl were missing, leaving Robinson twins Travis and Reece as the only players with NRL experience.
Travis, who played nine games for Penrith between 2012-13, scored two tries against England before the team held on for a memorable victory.
Travis said he wasn't involved in the dramas between their NRL players and the current board because he wasn't playing football during their midyear Test.
"If they were here, they're here. If they're not, we can't really do nothing," he said.
"We'll still perform with the team we've got. As we can see, we've won a couple of games. It's whoever's representing their country will perform for their country."