We want them to play for Australia: Michael Cheika on Lebanon stars

Mitchell Moses Michael Cheika Credit: Alamy
Mitchell Moses Michael Cheika Credit: Alamy

Lebanon head coach Michael Cheika insists he would be delighted to see his star players earn a call-up to Australia on the international scene in the future. 

Cheika’s squad feature several NRL stars, including Parramatta Eels half-back Mitchell Moses and Wests Tigers utility Adam Doueihi.

The Cedars secured their spot in the quarter-finals of the men’s World Cup following their emphatic 74-12 victory over Jamaica at the Leigh Sports Village.

Lebanon will face Australia on Friday night in Huddersfield, the first fixture of the quarter-finals. And Cheika hopes to see his current players represent their opposition in the future, with Moses previously admitting his desire to represent the Kangaroos one day.

“The irony is guys like Adam and Mitch, they are pressing to play for Australia and we want them to,” the dual-international coach said.

“I want them to play for Australia because that means they are playing at the highest level possible. We love it when they’re playing with us. But we understand our place in what’s happening.

“It’s a weird scenario when you are playing against a team but you are really pushing to be a part of that team one day as well. We want the same for any of our guys, to make the NRL dream come true or the international dream come true, or Origin or whatever that may be.

“It is all a bit weird I suppose. But at the same time it is really nice and a great challenge for everyone.”

Michael Cheika believes in Lebanon side

Cheika will lead Lebanon on Friday night before taking charge of Argentina’s national rugby union side on Sunday for their clash against England.

And the dual-international believes the side with his first duties could cause an upset at the John Smith’s Stadium.

“You don’t play footy if you don’t (believe),” Cheika said. “We’ve got to prepare. It’s quite logical that nobody expects us to win. We understand that and we wouldn’t feel like a victim, that’s quite logical.

“But our job is to try and defy the logic and get ourselves in the situation where we can apply some pressure and see what happens.

“Obviously a lot of the lads are from Australia. It’s a great match up for them. It’s a real challenge that a lot of the players will want to go and meet head on.

“We understand we’re the underdogs. That’s pretty clear.

“I suppose you can use a little bit of it in your prep but I think the balance is getting some of that along with some of the tactical and technical we need to control the best team in the competition so far, along with England.”

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