Featherstone Rovers let 10-point leap slip as they lose to Toulouse

Luke Briscoe, who took his run of tries in successive games to 16 for Featherstone Rovers. Picture: Dec Hayes
Luke Briscoe, who took his run of tries in successive games to 16 for Featherstone Rovers. Picture: Dec Hayes

Featherstone Rovers failed to kick on after a good start as they lost 36-10 on their trip to France to play Toulouse.

John Duffy’s men initially looked set for a great victory against their top four Betfred Championship rivals as they went over for two tries and led 10-0, but a Toulouse revival late in the first half turned into domination from the home team after the break when Fev failed to score.

There was something for Rovers fans to cheer as winger Luke Briscoe crossed for his 26th try of the season and took his tries in consecutive games tally to a modern-day record-breaking 16.

He took just four minutes to open the scoring for Fev after taking a fine offload from Martyn Ridyard.

Rovers’ other winger, Shaun Robinson, went close to a second try when just shoved in touch while going for the line.

Robinson then got the ball down over the line only to be ruled to be in touch while Fev survived their first serious pressure to keep their line intact.

They stretched their lead to 10 points on 23 minutes when dual-reg duo Harry Newman and Jordan Lilley combined, the former leaping well to take the latter’s kick and go on to score a try that was converted by Ridyard.

A superb first half-hour, however, was to prove to be for nothing as Toulouse began their fightback with Johnathon Ford’s pass putting full-back Mark Kheirallah over for a try he also goaled.

Three minutes later they were ahead as a kick through took a wicked bounce and was pounced upon by Anthony Marion. With Kheirallah converting it was suddenly 12-10 despite Featherstone’s earlier domination.

The hosts were not to lose their lead in the second half, although the first chance came for Rovers with Tom Holmes going close.

From the following set Toulouse marched downfield to force a drop-out then went over for their third try with Tyla Hepi breaking through.

They turned the screw further with another drop-out forced and scored again as William Barthau jinked his way over.

Featherstone briefly looked to rally as Briscoe almost got on the end of Jansin Turgut’s kick. The resulting drop-out came to nothing, however, and another promising attack ended as Briscoe found himself being pushed to the touchline and his pass did not go to a team-mate.

Toulouse got back on top and Ford sent Bastien Canet racing clear for a try that effectively had the game wrapped up an hour in.

Briscoe thought he had scored his second late on, but the touch judge ruled he had put a foot in touch.

It was Toulouse who had the final word with Bastien Ader going over in the corner and Kheirallah completing his perfect night with the boot to complete the scoring.

Scorers - Toulouse: Tries Kheirallah, Marion, Hepi, Barthau, Canet, Ader; goals Kheirallah 6. Featherstone: Tries Briscoe, Newman; goal Ridyard.

Toulouse: Kheirallah; Maurel, Ader, Barthau, Marguerite; Ford, Robin; Boyer, Kriouache, Canet, Planas, Mika, Bentley. Subs: Bouzinac, Marion, Puech, Hepi.

Featherstone: Holmes; Briscoe, Taulapapa, Newman, Robinson; Ridyard, Lilley; Wheeldon, Carlile, Oledzki, Farrell, Turgut, Knowles. Subs: Moore, Hock, Brooks, Clark.

Referee: Liam Staveley.

Half-time: 12-10.