(The Daily Star/Finbar Anderson)
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For five local Lebanese rugby league players, the chance to compete in the upcoming Rugby League World Cup is the opportunity of a lifetime. Although it is still a fringe sport in Lebanon, rugby is hugely popular in Australia, where the World Cup is being held. Lebanon's team, the Cedars, is largely made up of Australian players of Lebanese origin.Australia hosts a significant Lebanese diaspora, and there are many players of Lebanese heritage in the country's competitive National Rugby League.Both players are aware that because of the gulf in experience between the players from the Lebanese league and those in Australia, it is possible that they might not see any game time at the World Cup.Once in Australia, after the players have had a chance to train alongside each other, the squad will be further reduced to 24, of which at least one will be a domestic Lebanese player.Both players are deeply passionate about the sport.For smaller competitions, the Cedars normally field a team of Australian-based players for games in Australia and the Pacific, and a separate team of domestic players for games around Europe and the Mediterranean.
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