Cold front lays low Lebanese players

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The Independent Online

The Rugby League World Cup's most exotic participants were feeling distinctly under the weather yesterday as three Lebanese players fought to recover from hypothermia.

The Rugby League World Cup's most exotic participants were feeling distinctly under the weather yesterday as three Lebanese players fought to recover from hypothermia.

Their second-row forward, Michael Coorey, and their centres, George Katrib and Travis Touma, all suffered badly enough from the driving rain and bitterly cold wind in their opening match against New Zealand at Gloucester on Sunday to need medical treatment.

"Michael was the most serious," said their team manager, George Elias. "He insisted on going back on in the second half, but it was absolutely terrible. They were all shivering and several of them couldn't breathe."

Elias said that his squad of mainly Sydney-based players should not have been forced to play in such conditions. "I don't think the game should have gone on," he said. "We're not used to it, coming from Australia and its sunny weather. The New Zealanders were probably used to it."

All three of the affected players are under doctor's orders, with medication, bed rest and plenty of fluids prescribed. "They are going to be okay, but they still feel pretty rough," said Elias, who with the rest of the Lebanese party had to endure a gale-lashed crossing of the Severn Bridge after the game in order to return to South Wales for their next match, against Wales in Llanelli on Thursday.

"Everyone keeps telling me that it's not usually like this at this time of year," said Elias, who does not expect any of his players to return to Wales and the West for their holidays.

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