Featherstone 26 Toulouse 34: Rovers rally but ultimately pay price for poor start against Toulouse

Chris Ulugia. Thought he'd saved the day for Featherstone at home to Toulouse.
Chris Ulugia. Thought he'd saved the day for Featherstone at home to Toulouse.
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Rovers paid dear for a dreadful start as their top-four bid suffered a setback with a second successive home defeat.

Trailing 16-0 after 16 minutes, they looked like making a recovery when they cut the gap to two points with centre Chris Ulugia’s second try 11 minutes from time. But, despite being down to 12 men with Bastien Canet in the sin-bin, Toulouse sealed victory with full-back Mark Kheirallah’s third try to add to his five goals.

Kheirallah grabbed his first before Rhys Curran plunged over from close range. Canet and Curran sent Kheirallah racing in for his second. Frankie Mariano went over from Anthony Thackeray’s high kick but the impressive French side then scored their fourth try when Tyla Hepi capitalised on Robin’s towering kick.

Rovers gave themselves hope three minutes before half-time when Davies crossed after good work by Keal Carlile and Jason Walton. Ian Hardman’s second goal cut the half-time gap to 22-12 but Toulouse went further ahead early in the second period when Robin pounced on Kheirallah’s neat kick.

Hardman converted his own try and five minutes later, the deficit was down to six points when Thackeray’s astute kick created Ulugia’s first score.

Rovers quickly cashed in when Ulugia bagged his second from another Thackeray kick. Hardman failed with the difficult conversion and Toulouse sealed victory when Kheirallah went over from acting half.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Handley, Ulugia, Walton, Briscoe; Thackeray, Wildie; Lockwood, Carlile, Bostock, Mariano, Davies, Tagg. Subs: Moore, Griffin, Walters, Hardcastle.

Toulouse Olympique: Kheirallah; Maurel, Marguerite, Ader, Minga; Ford, Robin; Boyer, Marion, Canet, Planas, Curran, Bentley. Subs: Kriouache, Puech, Hepi, Leha.

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (Leigh).

Attendance: 2,087.