Toulouse Olympique v Featherstone Rovers Betfred Championship Million Pound Game (Sunday 10th October 2021)
Due to the RFL regulations, Featherstone Rovers had to fly out to Toulouse on the same day as the game, and there were 150 people at Post Office Road who waved them off.
This was the final game of the rugby league season and it was the biggest as whoever won this game would get promoted to Super League for 2022.
Would it be Toulouse and therefore a 2nd French team in Super League or would it be Featherstone Rovers who haven’t been there for 25 years?
It was played at the Stade Ernest-Wallon.
After 5 minutes, Featherstone won a penalty but they lost it on the 2nd tackle.
1st Toulouse try
A minute later, Toulouse struck first as Jassaume went over, the referee went to the video ref, it was a gallant effort by the Rovers defence , the referee awarded it, successful conversion by Kheirallah.
Six minutes later, Rovers stole the ball and Toulouse were awarded a penalty, Kheirallah opted to take the 2 and he kicked it.
After a quarter of an hour, back to back penalties for Toulouse followed by another, and again Kheirallah chose to take the two and again kicked it to extend the lead to 10 points.
2nd Toulouse try
Four minutes later, it was a 2nd Toulouse try as Schaumkel looked to have dropped the ball over the line, the ref went to the video ref and he gave it, unsuccessful conversion by Kheirallah.
With 15 minutes of the 1st half remaining, Toulouse won another penalty for offside, Kheirallah again chose to take the 2 and kicked again.
On the half hour mark, back to back penalties for Rovers for the 1st time and Chisholm did a grubber kick on the 3rd tackle but had too much on it.
4 minutes later, back to back penalties again for Rovers and Chisholm kicked on the last tackle, but was too strong.
The last 1st half action was 3 minutes before halftime, as Rovers had another chance and Hall got dragged into touch.
Halftime score: Toulouse Olympique 16-0 Featherstone Rovers
Toulouse were the better side although I think their 1st 2 tries were lucky, Rovers improved in the last 10 minutes of the first half, could they score next to get Toulouse nervy? How would the 2nd half go?
First Featherstone try
After 53 minutes after a much better start to the 2nd half, Rovers got over as they won a penalty and then worked it out wide, Chisholm with a great pass and Ferres danced through a gap and scored under the sticks, successful conversion by Hall, was it game on?
40/20 for Fev
Just before the hour, momentum was starting to go Rovers way as Chisholm kicked a 40/20, and they got it wide to Hall but he was held up near the line, then on the next play Davies dropped the ball.
2nd Rovers try or was it?
On the hour mark, Rovers thought they’d scored their 2nd try as Kheirallah dropped the ball, Hall and Welham got the ball and Ferres thought he’d got over, the ref sent it to the video ref as no try and they ruled no try as Welham had knocked on too.
3rd Toulouse try
After 65 minutes, it was a 3rd try for Toulouse as they got it out wide and Jassaume scored in corner from a kick, it looked offside to me, successful conversion by Kheirallah, was that the killer blow for Rovers?
2nd Rovers try
Three minutes later, Rovers weren’t done yet as they did a short kick-off and they got the ball back, Ferguson did the 1st carry, and Davies went over from close range, successful conversion by Hall and it was back to a 10 point game.
After 69 minutes, Rovers got penalised for offside, Toulouse again took the 2 and Kheirallah kicked.
4th Toulouse try
With 6 minutes left, the killer, killer blow for Rovers as it was a 4th Toulouse try as Hansen went over, successful conversion by Kheirallah.
After 78 minutes, Rovers had a chance to score more points but they knocked on near the line, but White did get sinbinned for Toulouse.
5th Toulouse try
After the hooter, Toulouse scored a 5th try which was harsh on Rovers as Ford got over, unsuccessful conversion by Kheirallah.
Fulltime score: Toulouse Olympique 34-12 Featherstone Rovers
So it was a valiant 2nd half by Rovers, but just couldn’t quite do it.
Congratulations to Toulouse Olympique on promotion to Super League.
I’m still proud of Featherstone this season as it’s been an awesome season with them winning the 1895 Cup at Wembley, 2nd in the league, most points scored and came within 80 minutes of Super League. I believe they’ll get there one day as long as promotion and relegation stays but we will have to wait and see on that.