BEIRUT: Lebanon’s rugby union team was unable to leave the World University Cup on a high, thanks to a 21-5 defeat to Mexico in Brive. Lebanon went into the final game of the World University Cup with four defeats in four games in the early rounds.
They had hoped to make up for their performance in the early rounds – where their main downfall was not sprit but fitness and size – but were unable to defeat the Mexicans.
The Lebanese started off well but within two minutes of the start, one of their main players – Ibrahim Ballout – was seriously injured. The injury unsettled the team, allowing the Mexicans to take advantage by scoring two quick tries and finishing the first half 14-0.
The second half saw Lebanon start as they did the first, aggressive and full of fury, which resulted in a beautiful team try, finished off by the Lebanese captain Karim Jammal, who failed to kick his conversion.
With three minutes to go and neither side giving way, a mistake in the dying minutes by Lebanon resulted in the Mexicans scoring a converted try and finishing the Bowl final 21-5.
Although the tournament, results-wise, was disappointing, much was learned by the players and the coaching staff. It would seem there is a big gap between Lebanon and the other teams in the tournament in terms of skill and technique, as well as pool size.
Lebanon’s squad was chosen from an original pool of 20 students while Italy, one of the teams in the tournament, chose 12 out of 400 students.
It is hoped with the new season the Eden Park Students 7’s cup competition for universities and senior high school students will form the backbone of the team for the foreseeable future.
“Lebanon can only look and march forward now,” Steve Wrigglesworth, Lebanon’s national coach, said. – The Daily Star