Bite fright

Eng­land win - but will this photo mean McGil­l­vary is banned?

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Ian Lay­bourn in Syd­ney

Le­banon cap­tain Rob­bie Farah re­mains adamant that he was bit­ten by winger Jer­maine McGil­l­vary dur­ing his side’s de­feat by Eng­land in Syd­ney.

Eng­land got off the mark in the World Cup, bounc­ing back from their open­ing de­feat to Aus­tralia with vic­tory over the Cedars at the Al­lianz Sta­dium, but coach Wayne Ben­nett was not im­pressed and the re­sult was over­shad­owed by the bit­ing al­le­ga­tion.

Farah raised the com­plaint two min­utes into the sec­ond half and, al­though ref­eree Ben Thaler did not pe­nalise the Hud­der­s­field player, he put the in­ci­dent on re­port and it will now be scru­ti­nised by the match re­view panel.

“Things hap­pen in a split-sec­ond on the field and you re­act,” said Farah. “I made a com­plaint on the field, and I’ll leave it at that. I don’t think I need to say much else. There is a bit of footage there. It’s pretty clear for ev­ery­one to see what hap­pened on the re­play.”

McGil­l­vary, who scored Eng­land’s sec­ond try, was not made avail­able to the me­dia post-match, and Ben­nett said he was un­clear about the in­ci­dent.

“It’s a bit hard for me to make a com­ment,” Ben­nett said. “I have no more in­for­ma­tion than you’ve got. From where I’m sit­ting, I can’t tell you whether he bit him or not.”

Le­banon coach Brad Fit­tler sim­ply pointed out: “It’s in the hands of the match re­view com­mit­tee now.”

Eng­land scored first-half tries through Kal­lum Watkins, McGil­l­vary, Ryan Hall and Ben Cur­rie to es­tab­lish a com­fort­able 22-6 lead but failed to press home their ad­van­tage af­ter the break, Tom Burgess scor­ing their only other try. “I’m pleased it’s over,” Ben­nett said. “It had its mo­ments, there was both good and bad.

“The first half was pretty good. I was re­ally pleased with our ball con­trol and the way we gave our­selves op­por­tu­ni­ties, and I thought we de­fended pretty good. But I thought we lost our way in the sec­ond half with the foot­ball, par­tic­u­larly. De­fen­sively again, we stood up, but we’ve got to be bet­ter.”

Ben­nett made a cou­ple of changes to the team he an­nounced ear­lier in the week, opt­ing to give full-back Ste­fan Ratch­ford and stand-off George Wil­liams their first run-outs of the tour­na­ment. Ratch­ford came in for in­jured Jonny Lo­max while hooker James Roby made way for Wil­liams.

“Jonny Lo­max hurt his calf mus­cle at train­ing early in the week,” Ben­nett ex­plained. “He’ll prob­a­bly miss next week’s game [against France] but he should be back af­ter that.

“I left James out be­cause I wanted to give George Wil­liams a game. I’ve got 24 play­ers here. I’m try­ing to get them all a game be­fore the quar­ter-fi­nals.”

Ben­nett de­scribed the per­for­mance of stand-off Gareth Wid­dop as “good, bad and ugly” but praised the con­tri­bu­tion of debu­tant Alex Walm­s­ley and fel­low front-rower Burgess from the bench. “I like what Alex brought tonight,” he said. “I thought him and Tom were very good.”

Eng­land cap­tain Sean O’Lough­lin said: “We came in pretty pleased at half-time but we didn’t fin­ish the game off the way we wanted to. Le­banon asked a lot of ques­tions of us.”

Mean­while, Scot­land coach Steve McCor­mack could not hide his dis­ap­point­ment af­ter his side were crushed 74-6 by New Zealand.

They con­ceded 14 tries in Christchurch and have now leaked 124 points in their first two games, but will still reach the quar­ter-fi­nals if they beat Samoa in their fi­nal group game next weekend.

The Scots, ham­mered 50-4 by Tonga in Cairns, trailed 28-0 at half-time and were 64-0 down when half-back Os­car Thomas scored their only try.

“It was a tough night,” McCor­mack said. “I’m re­ally dis­ap­pointed in that per­for­mance, al­though New Zealand were re­ally good. In the first half, they had 21 or 22 off­loads and played good foot­ball. We had no ball.” Eng­land: Tries Watkins, McGil­l­vary, Hall, Cur­rie, T Burgess. Goals Wid­dop 4. Drops Wid­dop. Eng­land Ratch­ford, McGil­l­vary, Watkins, Bate­man, Hall, Wid­dop, Gale, Hill, Hodgson, Gra­ham, Cur­rie, Whitehead, O’Lough­lin. Subs Walm­s­ley, Heigh­ing­ton, T Burgess, Wil­liams. Le­banon: Tries Kas­sis, We­hbe. Goals Moses. Le­banon Abou-Sleiman, T Robinson, Maar­bani, Doueihi, Miski, Moses, Farah, Man­nah, Clark, Ma­mary, Twal, El­laz, Kas­sis. Subs Lichaa, Mou­jali, We­hbe, Sukkar. Ref B Thaler (Wake­field).

‘Things hap­pen in a split sec­ond on the field and you re­act. There is a bit of footage there. It’s pretty clear for ev­ery­one to see what hap­pened on the re­play’

Sore point: Rob­bie Farah com­plains about the al­leged bite by Jer­maine McGil­l­vary (right)

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