Cheika in for Hectic Week Coaching Lebanon and Argentina

October 31, 2022

LEIGH, England — Michael Cheika was set for a hectic week after his Lebanon side reached the quarterfinals at a second straight Rugby League World Cup on Sunday.

Lebanon defeated Jamaica 74-12 in Leigh and was confirmed to face defending champion Australia on Friday in Huddersfield.

Cheika is combining Lebanon duties with coaching the Argentina rugby union side. The Pumas meet England on Sunday at Twickenham.

Cheika will juggle the coaching roles and said he will rely heavily on assistants Felipe Contepomi with Argentina and Matt King with Lebanon.

“It’s probably going to be one day here, one day there,” Cheika said. “Everything has to be nailed down here first because we’re in a World Cup and it’s extremely important.

“We’ve done a lot of preparation work with the coaches from Argentina. They were here from Sunday through Wednesday with the team last week. We had permission to have a camp and I was able to spend a couple of days with them because we had days off.”

Lebanon’s Adam Doueihi keeps the ball in play during their Rugby League World Cup group C match against Jamaica at the Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, England, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022. (Tim Goode/PA via AP)

Samoa and Tonga also cruised into the quarterfinals.

Samoa thrashed France 62-4 in Warrington to set up a showdown with Tonga back there next Sunday.

Tonga saw off the Cook Islands 92-10 in Middlesbrough for its biggest test win.

Cheika was delighted with the Cedars’ 13-try romp against Jamaica in their first meeting, highlighted by a hat trick of tries from former Australia winger Josh Mansour.

Jamaica ended its first World Cup without a win.

Samoa was unrecognizable from the side that lost to England 60-6 in their World Cup opener a fortnight ago as they built on their 72-4 hammering of Greece with an 11-try rout of a disappointing France.

“We knew we would be underdone in game one but we have improved in game two and I thought we improved again tonight,” Samoa coach Matt Parish said. “We will have to improve again next week.”

Left winger Taylan May marked his World Cup debut with four tries while the explosive Brian To’o scored two on the other flank.

Cook Islands’ Kayal Iro, centre, is tackled by Tonga’s Will Penisini, right, during the Rugby League World Cup group D match against Tongo at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough, England, Sunday Oct. 30, 2022. (Will Matthews/PA via AP)

France had no answer to the barnstorming runs down the middle from Junior Paulo and Jaydn Su’a or the quick hands of their razor-sharp outside backs, all of it orchestrated by man of the match Jarome Luai.

Samoa was just as sharp after the break, as scrumhalf Anthony Milford marked his return from suspension with two tries in the final quarter, and center Tim Lafai demonstrated his exceptional strength to grab his second try.

Tonga’s 16-try romp featured four tries from Will Penisini, a hat trick for wing Tesi Niu, and 14 conversions from halfback Isaiya Katoa, who also touched down to complete a personal haul of 32 points. They swept Group D.

“That was a lot more like us and certainly showed the class and ability we have got,” Tonga coach Kristian Woolf said. “I am comfortable with where we sit and think we have more left in us as well.”

France’s Benjamin Jullien, centre, is tackled by Samoa’s Danny Levi, right, and Samoa’s Jaydn Su’a during the Rugby League World Cup group A match between France and Samoa at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington, England, Sunday Oct. 30, 2022. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

It was a dismal collapse from Tony Iro’s Cook Islands, which acquitted itself well in its opening two Group D fixtures against Wales and Papua New Guinea but soon appeared to lose its appetite amid a distinctly un-tropical climate at Riverside Stadium.

Tonga crossed within 90 seconds of the start through Katoa, but the Cook Islands at least hinted at a feisty challenge on 10 minutes when Steve Marsters burst half the length of the pitch only to see his try ruled out for a knock-on.

Three minutes later, Tonga captain Jason Taumalolo, making his first appearance in the tournament after suspension, barged unchallenged through the underdog’s rearguard and set the tone for a remarkably one-sided first period which ended with them up 52-0.

Marsters earned a rousing reception when he crossed for the Cook Islands’ first points with the result long gone, and Tinirau Arona scored and converted a second opportunity for the visitors on the fulltime hooter to at least give their side double digits and something to savor as they prepare to return home.



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