Toulouse and Featherstone through to fight for promotion to Super League

James Gordon
Championship ball for Monday night rugby league

Toulouse and Featherstone successfully navigated the play-off semi-finals to set up a mouth-watering Championship Grand Final clash in France next week.

The top two sides in the regular season will go head-to-head at Stade Ernest Wallon, 24 hours after Super League’s top two – Catalans and St Helens – face-off at Old Trafford.

Heavy favourites Toulouse didn’t have it all their own way against Batley, who beat Bradford last weekend to set up their France trip.

Former Dragons Remi Casty and Tony Gigot helped Toulouse in to a 12-0 lead inside 15 minutes, but tries from Dane Manning and Greg Johnson dragged the Bulldogs back in to the contest either side of Joe Bretherton’s touch down.

Batley trailed just 16-12 at half time, but were blown away in the second half – two tries inside five minutes of the restart from Junior Vaivai and Mark Kheirallah gave the hosts breathing space, and they added four more tries – with Gigot also adding a drop goal.

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The only team standing in Toulouse’s way of Super League in 2022, as well as a perfect winning season, is now Featherstone, who progressed in similar fashion past Halifax at the Millennium Stadium.

Frankie Halton and Conor McGrath traded tries in the opening 10 minutes, and Featherstone led 14-4 at half-time despite spending 10 minutes with 12-men following a yellow card for Tom Holmes.

Brett Ferres’ score on 51 minutes broke the Panthers’ resolve, and Josh Hardcastle, Conor Jones and Kris Welham made it four tries in 13 minutes to blow the visitors away.

It was Featherstone’s 27th game of the season and they will now become the second team after Batley to make the trip to Toulouse in 2021 – with the ultimate prize of promotion on offer.

Featherstone last won the Championship 10 years ago in 2011, but there was no promotion in place due to the licensing system.

Toulouse have now played and won 14 games this season. They are expecting a bumper crowd for the final on Sunday October 10 (6pm UK).

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