The South African Rugby League has gone to great lengths in arranging a Tri Nations series against Lebanon, Niue and the South African Rhinos that will kick of at the end of October 2016. This will be a self funded tour as getting sponsors for the Tri Nations is still a MAJOR challenge to SARL due to the fact that they are not recognised as a sport by SASCOC.
Five weeks before the Tri-Nation series, the Lebanese Rugby League Federation withdrew from the series. This was a huge blow to SARL. All arrangements for the competition were in place and costs have been made which the South African Rugby League will have to forfeit. Lebanon played the Rhinos in 2015 during the World Cup Qualifiers where Lebanon emerged as the winners. The Cedars fielded a Heritage team with one local club player warming the bench. The Heritage players are players based in Australia and not in Lebanon and where all NRL players.
The question the South Africa Rugby League community is asking is: Did Lebanon Rugby League withdraw because of funding as they claimed or because they could not field their Heritage players......... If Lebanon participated in the Tri-Nations series without their Heritage players, they could well have boarded their flight back with 2 major losses against The Rhinos and Niue. Was the decision made by Lebanon to withdraw made to save face ?
Niue will still tour South Africa. The only change being that NIUE and The Rhinos will play a double header against each other.
This once again places emphasis on the debate about the controversial rule about heritage players in a Rugby League Team: Should there be a cap on the amount of heritage players in any international team . The South African Rugby League feels that the RLIF should indefinably re look the total Heritage players allowed in any International squad.
If the South African Rhinos played against a Local Lebanese Rugby League players during the World Cup Qualifiers the outcome might have been completely different.
SARL is doing anything in their power to grow the game - and we were assured that they will never give up. They will always be knocking on every possible door and one day, it will open for them.
Mr Kobus Botha the President of South African Rugby League declined to comment.
Article from a local Newspaper - Source and Editor Unknown