Rugby League World Cup: Abbas Miski says Lebanon will continue to grow as a team in the coming years

Abbas Miski believes Lebanon’s performances at the Rugby League World Cup will help to grow the sport and get more people playing in the Middle East country.

The Cedars were knocked out of the tournament following a 48-4 defeat to Australia at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Miski states while it was disappointing to exit the competition in the manner that they did, he knows there will be long-term benefits ahead of the next World Cup in 2025, which takes place in France.

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He said: “It hurts right now, I’m pretty upset. We went into the game with Australia looking to win.

Abbas Miski and Lebanon have exited the World Cup (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images for RLWC)

“We knew they were the best in the world but we’re disappointed the score blew out to what it was.

“It’s hurting, but I’m sure we’ll look back and take a bit more pride.

Lebanon has got better. As players and as staff we are growing. We’ve matched some of the best teams, so it was growing.

“Part of being Lebanese is being upset when you lose so we’ll learn and come back better next time.

Abbas Miski with Australia's Daly Cherry-Evans (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for RLWC)

“Everything has been run really well in the camp. We grow as players, especially the young guys who came in without much NRL experience- they really played above their weight.

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“Hopefully this will encourage more Lebanese kids to start playing and we’ll have a bigger pool to choose from next time.

“Playing for Lebanon is a thing people want to do now. A couple of years ago it was a bit of a chore, some players just wanted to take time off, but it’s now like playing for other nations, you want to put on that jersey and represent the country.

“We’re really excited about the next World Cup. It’s only three years away, that’s the beauty of it. A lot of players are young and are at a good part of their career where they can step up and improve.

“We’ll be ready come the next World Cup, and you will see improvement.

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“The support back home from the Australian Lebanese and then the support from Lebanon itself has been massive.

“We’ve got five or six players actually from Lebanon and they’ll take a lot back to grow the game.”

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Miski enjoyed a strong tournament individually, crossing for four tries in four games, helping his side to beat both Ireland and Jamaica in the group stages.

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The winger will now head to Australia for the remainder of the year, where he will rest ahead of the 2023 season with Wigan Warriors, who kicked off their Super League season against Hull KR on February 18.

“It’s time for me to go back home now and see family,” he added.

“It’ll be summer there, and I haven’t been for two years, so it’ll be good to go back.

“I’ll take a good break, do a little bit of training, and then come back for next year ready to play.

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“I’ll be missing some of the cold runs up Haigh Hall, but not all of them.”