Time to embrace whoever makes the Super League spot their own

Featherstone will face Toulouse in the Championship Grand Final

The best two teams in the Championship will go head to head on Sunday to become the 24th different club to reach Super League.

Toulouse and Featherstone were the heavy favourites prior to the season and they have delivered – romping to first and second spot respectively, and then easing through their semi-finals at the weekend.

The Championship Grand Final will take place at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday (6pm UK).

Prior to Toronto’s briefest of stints in the competition, the last time a new club was elevated to the top flight for the first time was back in 2009 – when Celtic Crusaders were handed one of the 14 licenses.

And whichever of the two make it, they should be embraced.

The Championship Grand Final favourites

In terms of expansion, Toulouse would be an obvious choice – although that seemed the same last year when Leigh were parachuted in.

With French rugby league enjoying something of a renaissance, and interest at an all time high thanks to Catalans’ trophy-winning exploits and journey to this year’s Grand Final, it has never been a better time to have a second team across the Channel.

It is frankly absurd that the Dragons have had 16 years on their own – when they were introduced back in 2006, there should have been a strategy to have others join them long before now.

GRAND FINAL: Toulouse and Featherstone through to fight for promotion to Super League

As it is, Toulouse have earned their stripes on the pitch – starting in League 1 and eventually finding their way to the Championship Grand Final after a few seasons.

They have won every single game they have played in 2021 – albeit, English teams’ reluctance to travel to France means they’ve only had to take to the field 14 times.

Given the slumber Super League finds itself in, Toulouse might provide the shot in the arm it needs.

HOLY GRAIL: Toulouse have Super League in their sights after 20 year wait

Done all they can

But, if Featherstone do earn their place, they too should be embraced.

There was nothing stopping Bradford, Newcastle or York doing what Rovers have done in 2021.

They won 20 of their 21 Championship games.

They also won four cup games, including the 1895 Cup final at Wembley.

If come full time on Sunday they are on top, they will have earned their place – no doubt about it.

The fact a village in Yorkshire can reach the top flight isn’t something to be ashamed of – it’s something to embrace.

And for all the work Featherstone have done in the past decade or so, they would deserve their chance to rub shoulders with the best.

It would also give them the opportunity to gain local bragging rights over Castleford and Wakefield, who have done much less than Rovers despite millions of central funding in the summer era.

Their previous period of dominance in the Championship came during the licensing era, albeit on only one occasion did they end the season as champions.

Whatever the outcome, a fresh face in Super League will be most welcomed.

About James Gordon 7109 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.


      • Hope they do upgrade. Would not like to be used as excuse for non promotion if they win. I feel the way the thread is titled suggests to me that there may be a thought that one side is far more welcome than the other

  1. Well I’ve played for the RAF against feathstone Rovers under the flood lights nothing wrong with floodlights for but hill was a killer believe you me

  2. Great to see two very ambitious clubs wanting to play top flight rugby, were some other clubs seem to take things for granted. Not improving stadiums etc. Would be interested to see that the license system worked for a number of clubs look at Castleford and Wakefield no improvement. Fair play to Featherstone they have improved over the years and no doubt will continue and now Toulouse play in a perpose built rugby stadium it’s exciting times. Just a shame someone has to lose on Sunday. But for me and super League which needs a boost there’s a massive untapped market in France, I’ve said this for years. No disrespect to Featherstone but I’d sooner book a weekend away in Toulouse. Look how good the rugby union European Cup is. We can have that style but in our own league and create that. Not forgetting the all french ties in the super league let’s hope for this sport lacking good news stories this works.

  3. Utter nonsense, there’s no way any other sport that found itself in the state that rugby league finds itself in would think that promoting Fev was in the best interests of the game, it may not even be in the best long term interests of Fev.

  4. The reason the games is in the mess it’s in is because of the narrowed minded self serving individuals. Not teams like Fev. Toronto,Celtic,Sheffield, Gateshead, Paris all resounding failures. Along with framing the future which was conveniently ignored by SL clubs and franchising. Very recently soccer attempted to set up a SL Europe and we’re condemned as self serving and greedy by the masses. They backtracked due to the backlash and shame. But SL has no shame, and has zero interest in anything other than SL.

  5. Promotion as it stands is earnt on the field of play, those are the rules set down. If Fev win on Sunday they get promoted, same for Toulouse. British sport is built on promotion & relegation. All teams should be able to make the summit regardless of where they are

  6. If Featherstone win they will be on a “hiding to nothing” in Super League, nothing will be good enough for RFL I think it’s Toulouse or nothing as far as they are concerned.

  7. Come on Fev. And i think they have done a great lot of improvements to their ground. But it did look dark on try line and gave me the impression it could be difficult to determine video ref decisions

  8. Having photographed at Fev many times in the evening it would be fair to say it’s not the brightest or the best coverage from a flood light perspective. That said if they win then they should go up. Fairs fair. If the RFL deem them not worthy after winning then they should be compensated!

  9. Good god it’s not hard to to replace lights cricket your all dumb. What if a UK club wanted to join the Elite 1 in France and displaced a French club. How do you think that would go down. Sounds stupid doesn’t it.

  10. Good for the long term future of the game itself if Toulouse are promoted. We need a strong French team. Until International Game is supported as the pinnacle the game will struggle both for sponsors and recognition

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