Led by Joseph Manu, the New Zealand Kiwis coasted to a 34-12 win over a spirited and gritty Lebanon side, who played the last twenty minutes down a man.

In just his second game as fullback for New Zealand, Manu was in everything, as he scored a try, set another up and looked damaging with every carry.

Lebanon came out with plenty of character to start the game and were the first ones to trouble the scorers.

After a strip by Kiwi players near the line, Josh Mansour was quickest to pounce and the veteran winger scored the try.

The Lebanese lead only lasted a few minutes, however.

Some remarkable strength was shown by Joey Manu to offload despite three defenders holding him as his pass found Brandon Smith.

Smith then played a lovely face ball for Kenny Bromwich to power over and end up on his back before reaching out to score.

Another offload displaying brute strength, this time from Smith, saw Nelson Asofa-Solomona power over from close range.

The Kiwis third try came via Peta Hiku who was able to catch the Lebanese defenders napping with a run from dummy half.

His quickness off the mark was enough to squeeze through two defenders and score.

Adam Doueihi looked to start Lebanon’s second half on the right foot and he did just that, with a monster 40/20 early to put them on the attack.

The Lebanese immediately attacked the left side and the ball went through several hands before finding Abbas Miski who scored in the corner.

Manu then danced from side-to-side, broke some tackles, made a break, and found Dylan Brown on his inside who went over to score.

A tremendous solo effort by Joey Manu – and perhaps the try of the tournament so far – saw the Kiwis extend their lead.

Scooping the ball up from dummy half, Manu ran at the line, chipped, regathered, broke a tackle, spun, and went over himself in a huge solo effort.

Doueihi’s night then came to an early end with 20 minutes to go, after he was sent off for dissent.

The Kiwis final try of the night came via Jordan Rapana who was on the end of a simple shift play.

The scoreline is impressive for the Kiwis but the Cedars can take pride out of the performance for the way they carried themselves throughout.

Despite the scoreline, Kiwis coach Michael Maguire wants his side to improve their attack – he described it as clunky at times – but praised Lebanon for their early resolve.

“We can probably learn a few lessons from the Lebanon team and I thought they really came out and did a good job at the start,” Maguire said.

“You’ve got to have the intensity at the start and I thought we lacked that which is something we’ll talk about.”

As for Michael Cheika, Lebanon’s coach, although there were elements he was pleased with, there are other he knows need improvement.

“We delivered on a lot of the things we wanted to in our personal game plan,” Cheika said.

“We have a good kicking game but we lost the kick chase a few times, and we really need to win that.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Joseph Manu (NZL)

2. Brandon Smith (NZL)

1. Nelson Asofa-Solomona (NZL)

New Zealand: 34 (K. Bromwich, Asofa-Solomona, Hiku, Brown, Manu, Rapana; G: Rapana 5) def. Lebanon 12 (Mansour, Miski; G: Moses 2).

New Zealand hooker Brandon Smith

By ricky

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.