Featherstone Rovers v Toulouse Olympique Match report by Daniel Crossfield (a dedicated flatcapper watching at the stadium)

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Featherstone Rovers v Toulouse Olympique Betfred Championship Round 15  (Sunday 1st August 2021)

This was arguably not only the biggest game of the weekend but the biggest game of the Championship season so far, as it pitted the two unbeaten sides together as 13 from 13 and 2nd placed Featherstone Rovers against top and 9 from 9 Toulouse.  I suppose the only disappointment was that neither this game or Halifax v Bradford were televised anywhere,  and it wasn’t even on the main Radio Leeds channel.  It was also Featherstone’s first home game since all restrictions lifted, and there was a decent crowd in and I was one of the 4,021 fans who turned up in what was my first home game for over a year and a bit, and I was excited about this game.

So whose unbeaten record would go and could Rovers win or play well without Dane Chisholm who got injured during captains run on Saturday?

It was played at The Millennium Stadium

After 5 minutes, it was a scrappy and nery start from both teams, but Rovers won a penalty and dropped the ball near the line.

A couple of minutes later, Rovers came close butwere stopped on the last tackle.

Two minutes later, another st to Featherstoen but again they dropped the ball.

After 13 minutes, Touloiuse won a penalty for Featherstone being offside, but they got near the line and dropped the ball.

1st Toulouse try

After 18 minutes, the first try of this game went to Toulouse and they kicked on the last tackle, Hall failed to collect a high ball and Toulouse got a fresh set of six and on the 3rd tackle, Peyroux crashed over, successful conversion by Kheirallah.

Five minutes later, Rovers won a penalty and on the 3rd tackle, they gave the ball away.

A couple of minutes later, Rovers won another penalty but on the 3rd tackle, Davies knocked on.

On the half hour mark, Rovers had a couple of breaks and on the 5th tackle, Brown looked like he was over, but got tackled.

Three minutes later, Featherstone won another penalty for offside against Toulouse and played some nice stuff and Welham kicke dit forward out wide but got bundled into touch.

The last menaigful 1st half action came after 38 minutes as the ball went out wide but it couldn’t find Welham.

Halftime score: Featherstoen Rovers 0-6 Toulouse Olympique

So it was a low scoring, error-strewn first half for both sides, but Rovers weren’t far off, could they build momentum in the 2nd half and keep their unbeaten streak going?

After 43 minutes, Rovers won a penalty and did a fantastic kick to make metres up the field attacking the end where most of their supporters were but they lost the ball on the 2nd tackle, a minute later, Featherstone looked clean throguh but again dropped the ball, things weren’t quite clicking for Rovers.

2nd Toulouse try

Five minutes later, Toulouse scored their 2nd try as Sangare crashed over from close range, successful conversion by Kheirallah.

1st Featherstone try

After 55 minutes, Feath won a penalty 30metres out and they got the ball out wide via Brown to Gale who stepped inside and used his pace to score which meant he’d scored at least 1 try against every Championship side this season, and his 21st try of the season and the Millennium Stadium erupted, successful conversion by Hall from the touchline, could Rovers use this as a springboard to get back into this?

Just before the hour mark, Rovers won another penalty and tried expansive rugby tryign to pass wide again, but the ball was intercepted.

3rd Toulouse try

Just after the hour, rovers dropped the ball again on the last tackle, and the referee gave the decision to Toulouse who eventually worked it out wide and Peyroux scored, unsuccessful converison from Kheirallah, with just over 20 to go and with 10 points the difference , was it a step too far for Rovers?

Drop goal for Toulouse

With seven minutes remaining, clever thinking from Toulouse who decided to go for a one pointer, and Gigot kicked it.

4th Toulouse try

After 75 minutes, Toulouse wrapped up the win with another easy try as Casty latched onto an offload to score over the line, successful conversion from Kheirallah.

With three minutes remaining, Featherstone thought they’d scored their 2nd try  but Parata lost it over the line.

Fulltime score:  Featherstone Rovers 6-23 Toulouse Olympique

So the unbeaten streak is over for Featherstone but with the fans back in, it was a good atmosphere but just the wrong result, but with the fans behidn them, they can bounce back.

It means Toulouse stay top with a win percentage of 100% and Featherstone remain 2nd but with a win percentage of 92% and there’s teams behind them as well, so these next few weeks could be crucial for Rovers as they look to secure a play-off place.

Next for Rovers is a West Yorkshire derby across the M62 as they travel to Batley to face the Batley Bulldogs,  always a good fixture and it takes place on Sunday 8th August with a 3pm kickoff.

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