Toulouse Olympique 'overwhelming favourites' to win Million Pound Game, says Featherstone Rovers head coach James Webster
Featherstone Rovers head coach James Webster believes that Toulouse Olympique are the “overwhelming favourites” to win the Million Pound Game this weekend.
Rovers, who booked their place in Sunday’s fixture with a dominant win over Halifax Panthers last Saturday, are aiming to become a Super League club for the first time after narrowly missing out on a place in the competition in 1998 and 2019.
When Super League was formed in 1996, Rovers did not get a place in the new-look top flight. In 1995, they finished 11th in the 16-team first division but were effectively relegated to make way for London Broncos and the now-defunct Paris Saint-Germain.
Another French club, who have never played in Super League themselves, stand in their way now.
Olympique joined the British league system in 2009 before returning to France three seasons later. In 2016 they returned to England and went unbeaten in League 1 that same year before losing the promotion final to Rochdale Hornets before going up via the play-offs.
They have been unbeaten this year but have played almost half of the number of games as Rovers, whose only defeats this season have come against Toulouse and Hull FC in the Challenge Cup.
Featherstone were beaten by Toronto Wolfpack in the 2019 Million Pound Game but are hoping to go one better to finally earn their place in the elite.
“I think Toulouse are overwhelming favourites. I don’t think you will find too many people in the media or the public who are backing us,” said Webster.
“They are a full-time outfit who spend a heap more money than we do. They are at home, they are fresh and ready to go. I can understand why they will be massive favourites to win the game. We don’t need to worry what other people say.
“We just need to worry about ourselves and about playing our style and try to identify a couple of areas where our style will suit playing against them.”
He continued: “We have had a really good, enjoyable year. We have only got beat by a Super League team and a full-time team, that is it.
“We went to Wembley and won a cup and we are in a final now all in the 100th year of the club.
“Considering Covid, it has still been a fantastic year. I can’t think of any players that have played poorly for us.”
Webster revealed that his players were not in a celebratory mood following the win over Halifax, something he sees as a good thing, adding: “The boys weren’t jumping for joy when we won it, which is a good sign. Like anyone, you want to win the final. It is great to be in it but our goal has always been to win it.
“The win on Saturday was to give us a chance of doing that. We will give it our best shot.”