25 OCTOBER 2015
On this day, five years ago, South African Rugby League, played the Lebanon Cedars in a Rugby League World Cup Qualifying match in the First Leg of the Middle East Africa Section. This historic match was the first time ever that any Lebanese sports team, national or otherwise, has played in South Africa. To add further gravity to the occasion, the Rhinos and the Cedars teams were competing for the last available spot in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Finals scheduled for Australia. Both nations also found them on a steep development trajectory as
a result of a range of factors. Initially scheduled for Brakpan, the match was eventually shifted to the Bosman Stadium.
The Rhino team of 2015 represented a new start in the history of South African Rugby League and followed the retirement or departure to the professional ranks abroad of the first generation of players. In addition, the organisation was in the midst of orientating and inaugurating a new leadership on the administrative level. Most of the players selected for the Bosman Stadium encounter were either making their debut or were playing in only their second or third international contest. The Cedars in turn were only marginally more experienced but had at least four players in the match day squad, namely Adham El Zbaidieh, James Boustani, Wael Harb and Robin Hachache who could be regarded as international veterans having played between nine and 16 international matches (or tests).
The Rhinos had an uphill battle and at halftime was trailing by 18-4 and final lost the match by 40-12. The Rhino’s scored three tries in response to the seven of the Cedars. Try-scorers for the home team on this occasion were Johan Joubert, Jason King and Nardus Raubenheimer. Neither Jean Coetzer nor Bradley Williams could add any conversion. Travis Robinson in turn scored a hat-trick of tries for the visitors. This was followed by tries by Daniel Abou-Sleiman, Tarek El Masri, Mitchell Mamary, and Chris SAAB. James Boustani converted six of the seven tries.
Despite this setback, the Rhinos manfully continued their campaign and making their contribution to further consolidating South Africa’s Rugby League World Cup legacy.