Ireland v Lebanon preview

Ireland coach Andy Kelly has rung the changes for his side's second World Cup qualifying match against Lebanon in Dublin on Sunday.

Veteran prop Barrie McDermott, who made a record-extending 13th appearance in Ireland's 50-12 win over Russia in Moscow a fortnight ago, sits out the next match, along with Liam Harrison, David Bates and Martin McLoughlin.

Into a 20-man squad come Leigh full-back Scott Grix, Widnes winger Damien Blanch, former Hull forward Paul McNicholas, Salford prop Gareth Haggerty and Steve Nolan, Eric Roberts and Billy Treacy from Ireland's domestic competition.

Kelly will finalise his line-up after Saturday's final training session in Dublin before Sunday's game which has a noon kick-off at Tolka Park.

Ireland squad: S Grix (Leigh), D Blanch (Widnes), S Littler (Salford), T Stewart (Harlequins), G Dodd (Widnes), C Bridge (Warrington), B Beswick (Widnes), R Tandy (Widnes), P Cantillon (Rochdale), P McNicholas (unattached), M Cassidy (Widnes), G Corcoran (Oldham), D Allen (Widnes), S Gibbons (Carlow), G Haggerty (Salford), A Robinson (Coventry), S Nolan (Dublin City Exiles), W Kerr (Carlow), E Roberts (Kildare), B Treacy (Treaty City).


Australian-born winger Damien Blanch will make his Ireland debut but Warrington`s former Cronulla half-back Michael Sullivan has been ruled ineligible.

While Blanch, who moved from Castleford to Widnes earlier this year, qualifies through his Belfast grandparents, Sullivan has to go back three generations for his Irish heritage.

Ireland coach Andy Kelly insists that all birth certificates are checked to ensure there is no breach of the rules.

"It is something we try to guard against," he said. "There have been one or two players we have reluctantly had to let go.

"If we were tempted to bend or break rules then Mick Sullivan would maybe have been one of the players we would have gone out of our way to do that for.

"Unfortunately, his was a great-grandparent entitlement and we stood our ground."

The Lebanon side was successful in defeating Russia in Moscow last weekend, making this a clash for bragging rights at the top of the qualifying group ahead of the return matches in a year's time.

Lebanon tour squad:
ad Abinassif (AUB ? half back)
Jai Ayoub (Bulldogs - half back)
Daniel Chiha (North Sydney ? centre/2nd Row)
Khalid Deeb (Newtown Jets ? 2nd row)
Youssef El Helou (Club Libanais ? lock)
Samer El Masri (Parramatta ? five-eighth/fullback)
Adham El-Zbaidieh (South Sydney ? wing)
Anthony Farah (Parramatta ? five-eighth)
Rudy Hachache (LAU ? front row/2nd row)
Gilbert Haydamous (Balamand ? wing)
Charles Farah (Bulldogs ? front row)
John Koborsi (Bulldogs ? 2nd row/centre)
Ali Kourouche (Cronulla ? 2nd row/front row)
Mohammed Amin Maassarani (Balamand ? front row)
George Ndaira (St George IIIawarra ? hooker)
Charlie Nohra (Sydney Bulls ? front row)
Chris Salem (Sydney Bulls ? centre/wing)
Frank Samia (Western Suburbs ? centre)
Allen Soultan (Balamand ? lock)
Phillip Takchi (Sydney Bulls ? lock)

Sources: http://www.rli.ie, http://www.utvlive.com, http://www.lebrl.com

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