LEBANON underlined why they are favourites to qualify for the 2017 World Cup in Australia by beating Malta comfortably in Sydney.

The Cedars have missed out on the last two World Cups on a penalty and a countback but seem well placed to make the next tournament, with South Africa their main rivals in the new qualifying procedure.

James Boustani of Hills Bulls pulled all the strings for the Cedars from halfback, while Auburn’s Ead Kassem posted a brace of tries near the end to assure his side of victory.

Malta led 16-12 with 20 minutes to go, after Kyal Greene crashed over. The Knights had level-pegged up until that point, with Mitch Barbara and Jeremy Carruthers posting earlier touchdowns.

Lebanon Cedars squad:
D. Slieman, C. Nye, T. el Masri, A. Miskie, A. Elzbaidieh, M Daoud, J. Boustani, M. Mammary, J. Clarke, R. Coorey, E. Sukkar, N. Kassis, C. Saab (c), Subs: H. Kalal, E. Kassem, D. Barakat, W. Harb
Head Coach Darren Maroon

M. Barbara, D. Frendo, A. Weston (vc), D. Farrugia, N. Falzon, J. Carruthers, A. Sultana, M. Mizzi (c), J. Redman, J. Lennox, K. Greene, J. Scicluna, B. Phillips,Subs: K. Fuller, N. Portelli, L. Vella, C. Harland
Caretaker coach Tony Bainou.