Rugby League World Cup rocked by ugly scenes in half-time incident

Lebanon and Ireland, pictured here at the Rugby League World Cup.
Three players were sin-binned in Lebanon's clash with Ireland at the Rugby League World Cup. Image: Getty/Twitter

Tempers flared at the Rugby League World Cup on Sunday, with three players sin-binned during Lebanon's clash with Ireland.

Coached by former Wallabies mentor Michael Cheika, Lebanon are on the brink of a second consecutive quarter-final berth and can secure their passage with a win over minnows Jamaica next week.

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The Cedars' 32-14 victory at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday means the Irish now face a near-impossible task of getting out of group C given they must beat heavyweights New Zealand.

Without Adam Doueihi due to suspension, Mitchell Moses steered the Lebanese side to victory in a game where passions frequently boiled over.

NRL referee Adam Gee sent three players to the sin-bin, with Ireland prop Robbie Mulhern and Lebanon lock Jalal Bazzaz given their marching orders after a fight broke out after the half-time siren.

Reporter Gary Carter tweeted: "Tempers flare between Lebanon and Ireland as the half-time hooter sounds, with players almost ending up in the stands!"

Lebanon also lost fullback Jacob Kiraz to a concussion, while prop Kayne Kalache was sent to hospital after high contact from Ireland's Gold Coast prop Jaimin Jolliffe.

"I was highly disappointed about that whole thing, we got a player (Doueihi) sent off last week for supposedly saying something to the referee," Cheika said.

"Our guy (Kalache) takes a shot square to the head and nothing happens and he goes to hospital, so go figure."

Lebanon not getting ahead of themselves at World Cup

Even without star playmaker Doueihi the Lebanese were a class above, frustrating the Irish with some tactics borrowed from rugby union with five ball-steals stifling Ireland's first-half rhythm.

"Fair play to Lebanon, they'd done their homework and they saw something in us that maybe I missed in terms of the ball steals," said Ireland coach Ged Corcoran.

"I still believe in the people I've got in there and I go into Friday with the full belief that we can get a result."

Former Wallabies coach Cheika says dreaming of a last-eight meeting with Australia, who look certain to secure top spot in group C, would only serve to undo his side's good work.

"I'm a bit of a dampener. Unfortunately, I've been to too many of these things and it's not done until it's done," Cheika said.

Michael Cheika, pictured here before Lebanon's clash with Ireland at the Rugby League World Cup.
Michael Cheika looks on before Lebanon's clash with Ireland at the Rugby League World Cup. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

"You think it's done and someone else will come and take it off you.

"I saw it when Fiji played against Uruguay in the (2019) Rugby World Cup, they (Fiji) thought they had it and Uruguay came and pinched it off them."

Lebanon were up 20-0 with just over half an hour gone with tries from veteran Reece Robinson, Canberra's Brad Morkos and Kiraz.

Ireland winger Louis Senior grabbed a try either side of half-time to cut the deficit to 10 points, but Lebanon pulled away soon after with tries from Parramatta forward Elie El-Zakham and Wigan winger Abbas Miski.

Centre Ed Chamberlain pulled one back for Ireland in the dying moments despite teammate Liam Byrne being sin-binned for a late hit.

Elsewhere, Samoa bounced back from their 60-6 thrashing at the hands of England by beating Greece 72-4 in Doncaster on Sunday.

with AAP

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