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Lebanon To Make Mark On World Stage

Words: Eden Richards‌, Queensland Correspondent‌‌, ‌‌‌NRL.com

2017 NRL - Grant Trouville © NRL Photos
2017 NRL - Grant Trouville © NRL Photos

This article first appeared on NRL.com.

Hooker Robbie Farah says he would have chosen to represent Lebanon at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup even if he was picked for the Australian Kangaroos. 

While selection for Australia was always unlikely, Farah was never setting himself a goal to play for the Kangaroos, instead contacting Lebanon coach Brad Fittler in June to make himself available for Cedars selection. 

Farah is now Lebanon captain, with the 33-year-old set to lead his country in his second Test match for the second-tier nation on Sunday when they face France in Canberra to open their World Cup campaign. 

Farah's first and only other appearance for Lebanon came way back in 2002 when he was a fresh faced 18-year-old. 

It was not long after his Lebanon debut that he switched his allegiances to New South Wales and Australia, playing eight Test matches for the Kangaroos, with his last appearance in the green and gold coming in 2014. 

With the door to represent Australia seemingly closed, a change to the international eligibility rules in 2016 cleared the path for Farah to make his return to Lebanese colours and play at his second World Cup. 

He is now just days away from pulling on the Lebanon jersey for the first time in 15 years and it is something he has always wanted the opportunity to do again.

"I didn't need much convincing [to play for Lebanon]. I played for Lebanon 15 years ago as an 18-year-old and that really gave me an opportunity to further my career," Farah said. 

"I made some of my best mates through that tour. Unfortunately our careers went along different paths and I haven't been able to play alongside them since. 

"For me I made the decision a long time ago that I wanted to represent Lebanon at this World Cup, regardless if I did get picked by chance for Australia. 

"I committed to Lebanon a while ago and I'm at a point in my career where I'm looking forward to giving back to Lebanon and Lebanon rugby league."

This year's World Cup will be Lebanon's second appearance in the competition, with their last World Cup run coming back in 2000.

In that tournament Lebanon failed to win a game, losing to New Zealand and Wales before fighting out a hard-fought draw against the Cook Islands. 

A win is an obvious goal for the Cedars this time around and Farah wants this type of success badly, saying his side has the ability to make it through to the knockout stages of the competition.  

"It's a great opportunity for us to make our mark on the world stage as a squad and as a country. It's been 17 years since we've had an opportunity to represent our country at a World Cup," he said.  

"At the last World Cup we had a draw and two losses so we've never won a game. To win a game in this group stage is the goal for us and hopefully that will propel us into the quarter-finals."

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