Tonga holds off Lebanon to reach WCup semifinals

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Tonga defeated Lebanon 24-22 on Saturday to join defending champion Australia in the semifinals of the Rugby League World Cup.

The Pacific Islanders, who surprisingly beat tournament co-hosts New Zealand in the pool stage, narrowly avoided being upset themselves as they held on grimly to edge a Lebanon team, made up mostly of part-timers and semi-professionals.

Lebanon trailed 22-16 at halftime but cut the deficit to two points when Abbas Miski scored the only try of the second half with 10 minutes to go.

Lebanon then had another try disallowed for obstruction which allowed Tonga to hold on for the win.

Tonga will play either England or Papua New Guinea in the semis while Australia will face either New Zealand or Fiji.