As the Cedars warmed up for their crucial Group A match against France, one of their most experienced players, Chris Saab, copped a blow to the head and had to be withdrawn from the match due to concussion.
With the experienced second rower unavailable, Lebanon coach Brad Fitler looked to 19-year-old five-eighth Adam Doueihi as his replacement.
With limited time to prepare for his international debut, Doueihi admitted he was star struck before the game.
“I didn’t quite absorb it at the start,” Doueihi said. “I was a bit star struck because I haven’t been in a big game like this in my career.
“[Chris Saab] spoke to me before the game and assured me that he believes in me and then Robbie [Farah] and the senior boys spoke to me and told me to come on and play my own game.”
The youngster did just that when he came onto the field in the second half and rose high to score a crucial try off a Mitchell Moses kick to swing the momentum back in Lebanon’s favour.
“It was amazing feeling,” Doueihi said.
“Especially in that last 20 minutes where the scores were still tight.”
While the two sides couldn’t be separated for the majority of the match, Lebanon ended up running away with the result to claim a 29-18 win over France with Mitchell Moses at the heart of the Cedars attack.
The Parramatta playmaker was impressed with what he saw from Doueihi throughout the second half.
“He’s a classy kid and he has a good head on his shoulders,” Moses said. “I put a kick up before and I saw him leap from nowhere and take it. He came up to me and said ‘Put it there again and I’ll catch it and score’.
“Those were his words and he did it. That’s a lot of confidence for a kid who is 19-years-old and on the world stage.”
After helping Lebanon secure their first ever World Cup win, Doueihi is proud to be able to represent the Cedars on the biggest stage.
“We knew this would be our game to focus on for this first part of the tournament and it’s huge for the Lebanese community,” Doueihi said. “They haven’t won a World Cup game and it’s been about 17 years since they’ve been in a World Cup so to get this win for the crowd and the community, it’s a big win for us.”
The victory sees Lebanon move to second place in Group A and look to be on course to secure a maiden quarter final berth.
This article first appeared on RLWC2017.com