Toulouse join Dragons in French revolution

The red-shirted Catalans Dragons will have Toulouse for company in the Super League next season.
The red-shirted Catalans Dragons will have Toulouse for company in the Super League next season.

The French revolution in rugby league has gathered more momentum with Toulouse beating Featherstone 34-12 in the 'Million Pound Game' to ensure they will have two teams in Super League in 2022.

Sylvain Houles' men ended Toulouse's 18 years of hurt on Sunday, since it was back in 2003 when they lost out to Catalans Dragons as the Rugby Football League originally chose their preferred French team.

The Catalans have since gone on to reach the Super League grand final and, although they lost to St Helens on Saturday, they can now look forward to at least two French derbies in the top-flight next season.

In the match known within the British game as the 'million pound' entry to the big time, it was Toulouse's ex-Catalans trio of Remi Casty, who confirmed his retirement at the end of the game, Tony Gigot and Eloi Pelissier who helped lay the foundation for their victory.

With a thoroughly impressive first-half display, they built a 16-0 lead against their part-time opponents.

Centre Mathieu Jussaume and winger Latrell Schaumkel touched down within 18 minutes and though Featherstone gradually stemmed the onslaught, they were never able to put the Toulouse defence under pressure until an interval pep talk from coach James Webster did the trick.

Australian halfback Dane Chisholm put former Leeds and England second rower Brett Ferres through a gap in the Olympique defence for a converted try which gave them hope.

A 40-20 from Chisholm enabled the Yorkshiremen to keep the momentum and Hall and Ferres both went close to adding further tries.

Jussaume eased the growing anxiety in the home camp when he scored his second try in the 64th minute but second rower John Davies' converted try for Rovers three minutes later just about kept his side in contention.

Former Wigan forward Harrison Hansen crashed through for Toulouse's fourth try seven minutes from the end, Mark Kheirallah kicked his seventh goal from eight attempts and stand-off Johnathan Ford added a last-minute try to stretch his side's winning run to 20 matches.

Australian Associated Press