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In a massive boost for international rugby league, Lebanon have confirmed that they will be taking their place in the forthcoming 2008 World Cup qualifiers.
After the recent military conflict in the country there were fears that the LRL would have to relinquish their spot in the competition but they have emerged bruised and unshaken in their bid to reach the final stages in the southern hemisphere.
LRL president Mohammed Habbous said: "We are looking forward to showing our determination and resolve through sports and that our spirits remain high even though the past two months have been extremely difficult for all Lebanese. We would like to show the world that the Lebanese rugby league is steadfast and will endure in times of hardship, a true characteristic of the sport which we love."
In preparation for the qualifiers, the Cedars 'A' team will take on Malta for the ?Phoenician Cup? in Western Sydney on 8th October.
Lebanese rugby league official George Elias, who will lead the side, commented: "Sport unites a nation and Lebanon will be united as we progress with our mission to reach the Rugby League World Cup in 2008."
Rugby League European Federation Development Officer Kevin Rudd added, ?We are absolutely delighted that Lebanon will be able to fulfil their fixtures, it is a massive tribute to their organisation and they deserve our total admiration for their courage. Their attitude to not be beaten by outside forces represents everything that is best about the code.?
The original 2006 World Cup qualifier schedule, which saw Lebanon hosting Ireland on 28th October, is being altered to accommodate the Cedars? build up with the revised fixtures to be released by the RLEF imminently.