Lebanon players celebrate at full-time after downing England at Sydney's Bankwest Stadium on Saturday. Picture: Brendon Thorne/AAP
Lebanon players celebrate at full-time after downing England at Sydney's Bankwest Stadium on Saturday. Picture: Brendon Thorne/AAP

England on brink after shock 16-13 loss to Lebanon in WC 9s

ENGLAND are perilously close to becoming the first shock exit of the World Cup nines, after a 16-13 loss to lowly Lebanon.

Without their boycotting NRL stars, the Cedars claimed what will likely be the biggest upset of the weekend against an England side full of NRL and Super League talent.

Brothers Reece and Travis Robinson starred, the latter scoring a double - with the first coming from a nice flick pass from his sibling.

The win was Lebanon's second of the tournament after they also stunned France on the opening night, meaning they would qualify for the finals if they were to beat Wales on Saturday afternoon.

That would blow England out of the tournament, meaning they would miss the semi-finals of a rugby league World Cup event in any format for the first time in their history.

"We probably didn't start well. Some of the tries we let in defensively weren't our best effort. That's where we let ourselves down there," England star Gareth Widdop said.

"They played some good football. We nearly got it at the end there but didn't."

"We know we need to be better in the next game."

Meanwhile Fiji's finals hopes are already over after they suffered a golden-try loss to Tonga.

In the first extra-time match of the tournament, Robert Jennings crashed over for Tonga to keep their finals hopes alive with a 21-17 win.

It was a crucial return to form for Tonga, flogged by the Cook Islands on Friday night in a rocky tournament start.

However they will still need to beat Samoa by 24 points in their last group game to make the finals, after their Pacific rivals earlier beat the Cook Islands 17-4 on Saturday.