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Rugby league: Though Lebanon trip is off calendar UAE Falcons side is still on trial

The Lebanon tour has been cancelled but the Emirate State of Origin will still be used to select the UAE Falcons' side.

DUBAI // This evening's Emirate of Origin fixture between Dubai and Abu Dhabi will still act as a selection trial for the UAE Falcons even though the representative side's summer tour to Lebanon has been cancelled.

The Falcons had been due to travel to Beirut for two fixtures next month but the trip has been shelved due to security concerns.

The Rugby League Commission (RLC) hope to host the Lebanese side for an international in Dubai in September, instead, at the same time as Under 18 sides from the two countries are due to play each other here.

The Emirate of Origin encounter at Dubai Sports City this evening is still seen as a valuable chance for aspiring national team players to prove their worth to the Falcons selectors.

"The purpose of it was to serve as a selection trial and it still will be even though we aren't going to Lebanon," said Sol Mokdad, the chief executive of the RLC.

"It is disappointing to have to cancel but it could be a blessing in disguise.

"It will be good to get the chance to play a home fixture, especially against Lebanon as they are a ranked team."

The Falcons have suffered a variety of false starts in recent times when it comes to touring, having also been forced to skip a trip to Beirut last year.

They were invited to tour Pakistan earlier this year but eventually opted to turn down the offer, upon advice from security.

 

pradley@thenational.ae

 

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