This week’s Nothing But League ‘Championship game of the week’ sees Featherstone Rovers welcome Toulouse Olympique to the LD Nutrition Stadium on Sunday. We have a full preview below:
TEAM FORM GUIDE
It was a perfect start to the 2018 season for Featherstone Rovers, as they battled past Halifax RLFC to record a 20-4 win. Luke Briscoe and Shaun Robinson crossed in the first 10 minutes to give the home side an 8-4 lead at the break, before Martyn Ridyard and Anthony Thackeray’s second half efforts sealed the victory.
A late onslaught from French outfit Toulouse Olympique ensured they also started the new campaign with two points to their name, as they saw off Swinton Lions 46-14. It wasn’t as straight-forward as the scoreline suggests though, as the game was in the balance until four tries in the final 15 minutes won the game for Toulouse.
Ash Handley makes a return to the Rovers side for he first time since last April, while James Lockwood is also back from injury. Shaun Robinson misses out with a knee injury.
Rovers squad: Ian Hardman, Misi Taulapapa, Luke Briscoe, Martyn Ridyard, Anthony Thackeray, Scott Wheeldon, Keal Carlile, Richard Moore, Connor Farrell, John Davies, James Lockwood, Matty Wildie, Gareth Hock, Luke Cooper, Tom Holmes, Josh Hardcastle, Brad Knowles, Mitch Clark, Ash Handley.
Toulouse are unchanged from the 19-man-squad named for their opening round win over Swinton Lions.
TO XIII squad: Bastien Ader, William Barthau, Andrew Bentley, Charles Bouzinac, Bastien Canet, Rhys Curran, Tyla Hepi, Mark Kheirallah, Mourad Kriouache, Paul Marcon, Gavin Marguerite, Anthony Marion. Tony Maurel, Constantine Mika, Eddy Pettybourne, Sebastien Planas, Maxime Puech, Stanislas Robin, Justin Sangare.
Featherstone Rovers and Toulouse Olympique go head-to-head on Sunday afternoon, with both clubs looking to build on a round one victory.
Despite finishing below their opponents in 2017 and missing out on the top four, the French side picked up a league double in this fixture last year.
Their most recent meeting was in the final game of the regular season – before the division split for the Super 8’s – as Toulouse recorded a 32-26 victory at the Stade Ernest Argeles. In round seven they also ran out 34-26 winners away from home, yet it was Featherstone who had the last laugh as they made the Qualifiers.
Both teams will be fighting for a top four spot again this season, which will be more difficult than ever due to the addition of Toronto Wolfpack and Leigh Centurions. Even though TO missed out on a chance to compete against the bottom four of Super League, they still managed to win some silverware as they picked up the Championship Shield.
In the two meetings between these sides last year, Toulouse fullback Mark Kheirallah scored five tries and also added nine conversions, totaling 38 points.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday 11th February
Venue: LD Nutrition Stadium
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas
WHO WILL WIN?