‘I didn’t think we had any right to be in the game’: Featherstone Rovers’ Super League dream ends
FEATHERSTONE Rovers coach James Webster had no complaints as his side lost the Million Pound Game last night and, instead, saw an elated Toulouse Olympique XIII promoted to Betfred Super League for the first time.
The West Yorkshire club were overpowered 34-12 at Stade Ernest-Wallon and missed out in the promotion decider for the second time in three years.
Toulouse opened up an early 16-0 lead and, though part-timers Featherstone fought back to trail just 16-6 around the hour mark, their unbeaten and full-time rivals finished strongly. It means there will be two French clubs in Super League next year for the first time as Toulouse join Catalans Dragons who lost their maiden Grand Final 12-10 against St Helens on Saturday night.
Webster said: “I’m very proud of my players; I didn’t think we had any right to be in the game.
“Toulouse were excellent in that opening 20 minutes.
“We had some good opportunities, but we couldn’t compete with their physical dominance.
“We had hoped to come back into the game and there were some big moments in the second half but Toulouse countered us.”
Webster added: “Toulouse have shown they are the best team.
“Other than London Broncos they are the only full-time team in the division.
“Sylvain (Houles) has done an excellent job. I wish Toulouse all the best next year.”
Asked about Toulouse’s chances in the elite division – they will now need to swiftly start strengthening their squad – Webster replied: “They will need to recruit.
“My own hope is that they play more French players to help develop the sport in France.”
A crowd of 9,235 witnessed the historic occasion, including hundreds of Featherstone fans who made the trip over.