England’s 29-10 Rugby League World Cup win over Lebanon in Sydney on Saturday night has been marred by a biting allegation levelled at winger Jermaine McGillvary.
Lebanon captain Robbie Farah did not back down from a claim that McGillvary bit his arm in a second-half tackle after the five-tries-to-two loss at a wet Allianz Stadium.
“You never like seeing things like that on the field,” Farah said.
“I reacted to what happened.
“It is pretty clear on the replays. That is all I will say.”
McGillvary was placed on report in the 42nd minute after Farah made the explosive claim.
Farah claimed he was bitten while he tackled the England winger.
The Cedars skipper reacted after the tackle, sparking a player melee.
Farah then kept arguing with McGillvary as officials tried to take stock of the situation.
“He choked me,” McGillvary could be heard saying.
Farah interjected: “It doesn’t matter, you don’t bite people – look at my arm.”
It marked the Wayne Bennett-coached England’s first win of the tournament after their opening 18-4 loss to Australia.
But Bennett was far from happy with their complacent second half.
World No.3 England cruised to a 22-6 half-time lead with three tries in seven minutes but were frustrated in the second stanza by the 18th ranked Cedars, full of part-time sportsmen.
“These games are difficult because you are expected to win but no one knows by how much,” Bennett said.
“But part of our journey is to be more consistent and that is not good enough.
“We are not a good enough team to be able to turn it off and turn it back on again.”
Lebanon were buzzing from their opening 29-18 upset over France – their maiden Cup victory – and showed early fight.
They levelled the scores at 6-6 in the 18th minute when lock Nick Kassis pounced on a Farah grubber spilt by England pivot Garth Widdop.
“I didn’t think we disgraced ourselves. If anything I think we earned respect,” Farah said of their effort.
“We are a team of part-time footballers. To compete for 80 minutes with one of the best teams in the world is an outstanding effort.”
England’s first-half try brace included Ryan Hall’s 28th-minute sideline effort which was given the green light despite protests from Farah who claimed the giant winger had lost control of the ball.
England sealed their first win of the tournament after Tom Burgess ran off James Graham to crash over in the 56th minute with his twin George captured by TV cameras in the stands cheering him on.
England lost fullback Jonny Lomax (leg) before kick-off, replaced by utility Stefan Ratchford.
It marked the first time the teams had met in a Test.
The only other time the Cedars have faced a tier one nation they were routed 64-0 by New Zealand at the 2000 World Cup.