Lebanon captain Robbie Farah remains adamant that he was bitten by winger Jermaine McGillvary during his side’s defeat by England in Sydney.
England got off the mark in the World Cup, bouncing back from their opening defeat by Australia with a 29-10 victory over the Cedars at Allianz Stadium. But coach Wayne Bennett was not impressed and the result was overshadowed by the biting allegation.
Farah raised the complaint two minutes into the second half and, although referee Ben Thaler did not penalise the Huddersfield player, he put the incident on report and it will now be scrutinised by the tournament’s match-review panel on Monday.
Farah said: “Things happen in a split second on the field and you react. I made a complaint on the field and I’ll leave it at that.
“I don’t think I need to say much else. There is a bit of footage there. It’s pretty clear for everyone to see what happened on the replay.”
McGillvary, who scored England’s second try, was not made available to the media post match and Bennett said he was unclear about the incident.
We lost our way in the second half with the football particularly. Defensively again we stood up but we’ve got to be better than that.England coach, Wayne Bennett
“It’s a bit hard for me to make a comment,” Bennett said. “I have no more information than you’ve got. From where I’m sitting I can’t tell you whether he bit him or not.”
Lebanon coach Brad Fittler said: “It’s in the hands of the match-review committee now.”
England scored first-half tries through Kallum Watkins, McGillvary, Ryan Hall and Ben Currie to establish a comfortable 22-6 lead but failed to press home their advantage after the break, Tom Burgess scoring their only other try.
“I’m pleased it’s over,” Bennett said. “It had its moments, there was both good and bad. The first half was pretty good. I was really pleased with our ball control and the way we gave ourselves opportunities and I thought we defended pretty good.
“But I thought we lost our way in the second half with the football particularly. Defensively again we stood up but we’ve got to be better than that.”
Bennett made a couple of changes to the team he announced earlier in the week, opting to give full-back Stefan Ratchford and stand-off George Williams their first run-outs of the tournament.
Ratchford came in for an injured Jonny Lomax while hooker James Roby made way for the introduction of Williams.
“Jonny Lomax hurt his calf muscle at training early in the week,” Bennett explained. “He’ll probably miss next week’s game (against France) but he should be back after that.
“I left James out because I wanted to give George Williams a game. I’ve got 24 players here and I’m trying to get them all a game before the quarter-finals if I can.”
Bennett described the performance of stand-off Gareth Widdop as “good, bad and ugly” but praised the contribution of debutant Alex Walmsley and fellow front rower Burgess from the bench.
“I like what Alex brought tonight,” he said. “I thought him and Tom when they came on were very good.”
England captain Sean O’Loughlin said he was impressed by Lebanon but admitted his disappointment over his own team’s second-half performance.
He said: “We came in pretty pleased at half-time but we didn’t finish the game off the way we wanted to. We’re a little bit disappointed but it’s a win and we’re off and running.
“I thought Lebanon asked a lot of questions of us, which was good for us to get that hit-out with our defence. They chucked a lot at us. They were impressive.”