IT was without question Tonga’s greatest moment in Rugby League World Cup history, but the pacific islander’s win over New Zealand will count for little if they cannot overcome Lebanon in an elimination showdown at Christchurch.
The Tongans overcame a halftime deficit to stun the Kiwis in what will be looked upon in years to come as a turning point for Pacific Island rugby, and Mata Ma’a now loom as genuine winning threat in this competition.
While they have not been as impressive as their Saturday rivals, Lebanon have been impressive in their matches to date.
Back-to-back losses against England and Australia were not as heavy as expected, and will boost the confidence of Brad Fittler’s men.
While the Lebanese will enter the game full of optimism, the bookmakers think it will be a lopsided contest.
Sportsbet has Tonga as the $1.02 favourite heading into Saturday evening’s cut-throat match up.
Tonga form and first try scorer odds
Tonga have been nothing short of brilliant throughout the RLWC and that culminated in their backs-against-the-wall victory against New Zealand last time out.
The Tongans topped Pool B with three wins and no losses, but have by far the worst +/- going into the elimination stage of the competition.
The second-tier nation is one of the most exciting teams left in the RLWC, and a legitimate threat of doing the unthinkable and winning the overall competition.
Tonga first try scorer odds
Michael Jennings -$8
Daniel Tupou – $8
Will Hopoate – $12
Jason Taumalolo – $12
Andrew Fifita – $13
Tuimoala Lolohea – $15
Ata Hingano – $19
Manu Ma’u – $20
Siliva Havili – $26
Sika Manu – $26
Lebanon form and first try scorer odds
Lebanon has recorded one win from three matches this tournament, but the unbalanced record does not tell the full story for the Cedars.
After recording a comfortable 11-point win against France at Canberra to kick off the tournament, Lebanon then recorded back-to-back losses against Australia and England, but in reality no one expected them to fire a shot in either of those games.
The Cedars have named a relatively strong line up, but with injury clouds over Robbie Farah (heel), Michael Lichaa (foot) and Mitchell Moses (shoulder) and Chris Saab (concussion), who knows how competitive they will be on Saturday.
Lebanon first try scorer odds
Anthony Layoun – $36
Travis Robinson – $26
Abbas Miski – $26
James Elias – $31
Adam Doueihi – $31
Mitchell Moses – $41
Robbie Farah – $51
Ahmad Ellaz – $61
Nick Kassis – $67
Michael Lichaa – $71
Tonga vs. Lebanon Match Tip
We would love to spin a tall tale as to why Lebanon can mount a challenge against the Tongans but it would be a waste of your time and our bandwidth.
Tonga wins this match and they do it easily, and if it is anything less than a 20+ point victory we will be extremely surprised. We suggest taking the 21-30 point margin at the $4 quote via Sportsbet.