Defensive effort against Toulouse a 'massive step forward' for Featherstone Rovers, says Ryan Carr

Ryan Carr was pleased with the effort from his side in France last weekend. PIC: Matthew Merrick.
Ryan Carr was pleased with the effort from his side in France last weekend. PIC: Matthew Merrick.

Featherstone Rovers boss Ryan Carr felt his side “took a massive step forward” in France, despite being edged out 8-2 by Toulouse Olympique on Saturday afternoon.

Rovers' only points came from a first-half penalty goal from the on-loan Ben Reynolds.

Ben Reynolds penalty goal proved Rovers' only dent on the scoreboard. PIC: Matthew Merrick.

Ben Reynolds penalty goal proved Rovers' only dent on the scoreboard. PIC: Matthew Merrick.

Carr’s side led 2-0 at the break, but eight unanswered points from the hosts in the second half gave the French outfit their seventh consecutive league victory.

Tyla Hepi scored three minutes into the second period, as Mark Kheirallah added the conversion and then kicked a penalty 10 minutes later.

“Toulouse move the ball around, they offload and they never stop coming at you,” said Carr.

“So, to know that we defended as much as we did today and still stood up on our try-line is huge for us.

Josh Walters made his return from injury in Toulouse. PIC: Tony Johnson.

Josh Walters made his return from injury in Toulouse. PIC: Tony Johnson.

“We have taken a massive step forward as a team, after that game - I believe.

“Although we didn’t get the result, I can’t knock our performance.

“They turned up for each other, they worked hard and you can’t ask for anymore than that from your team.

"We got the ball over the line, we got held up twice, there were opportunities that we just missed and that was the difference between winning and losing.

“But take nothing from the boys' effort, it was the best we defended all year by a long way.”

Josh Walters made his return to the Featherstone line-up after being sidelined for the last month with injury.

Jorge Richardson kept his place in the side and made his Championship debut after an impressive display in Rovers’ fourth-round Challenge Cup victory over Swinton Lions on March 30.

Featherstone put plenty of pressure on the home side in the first half, but the division’s second-placed side managed to hold him out.

Josh Hardcastle crashed over the line but was ruled to have knocked on while Aussie hooker Cameron King was twice held up.

With the game proving a close-fought affair, Featherstone opted to kick for goal when awarded a penalty within striking distance.

On-loan Wakefield Trinity half-back Reynolds stepped up and made no mistake to give Featherstone the lead on 26 minutes.

It remained 2-0 until 43 minutes when Hepi crossed for the decisive try.

Four points from the boot of Kheirallah put six points between the sides, as Rovers pushed for a leveller.

Walters almost scored the away side’s first try of the game with eight minutes to play but was kept out by the Olympique defence.

The result means that Rovers have dropped to eighth in the Betfred Championship, following victories for Bradford Bulls, Halifax and Leigh Centurions.