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Toulouse Olympic XII and Batley Bulldogs faced up in the weekend’s first Championship lay-off semi-final for a berth in the grand final or “Million Pound Game” – and a possible place in Super League for 2022.

The hosts were making a welcome return to their home ground at Stade Ernest Wallon after 18 months of Covid lockdowns and restrictions.

They also came into the game off the back of impressive wins in their last six games, including an 82-12 thrashing of Newcastle Thunder, where they collected the League Leaders Trophy after going through the season unbeaten.

Underdogs Batley on the other hand, had lost two of their previous six, to Dewsbury and Whitehaven and finished the regular season in fourth – though having played seven more league games than their opponents, given the pandemic disruption.

Toulouse made the first mistake of the game, knocking on at the end of their first set as the Bulldogs’ strategy of pressure and disruption paid its first dividend. Tony Gigot was then ruled to have knocked on after intercepting a pass in the subsequent Batley set. But the Batley pressure in the TO 20 came to nothing.

But the Olymique team continued to make errors in possession and defence under a weight of expectation in front of a 10,000 crown, though Batley failed to turn that pressure into points.

And it was the hosts who notched up the first score when former Catalans veteran Remi Casty caught an offload from Jy Hitchcox with a gap opening up in front of him and ghosted through to dot down under the posts.

Mark Kheirallah duly converted for a 6-0 leads after 10 minutes as the game, and the home team, started to settle down.

Gigot extended the lead on 15 minutes, picking up the ball after  Johnathon Ford broke down the left and kicked inside and crossing with ease. Kheirallah made it 12-0.

But the Bulldogs bit back minutes later when Dane Manning powered over and Tom Gilmore converted to bring it back to 12-6.

Toulouse restored a 10-point gap when Ford kicked through again and former Wiganer Joe Bretherton raced through to ground the ball just before the dead-ball line. Kheirallah couldn’t convert from wide though.

Batley were next on the score board with a well-worked short-side play moving the ball out to Greg Johnson, unopposed on the wing, who strolled over. Gilmore’s touchline conversion narrowed the gap to four points at 16-12 with 10 minutes of the half left.

The visitors piled on pressure for those 10 minutes, but couldn’t move the scoreboard forward and 16-12 is where the half ended.

As soon as the second half got under way though, Junior Vaivai extended Olympique’s lead to eight points, crossing in the corner after a flowing move as the ball moved to the left and the centre powerd over against two defenders.

Again, Kheirallah’s kick from the touchline failed to get between the posts. But he crossed for a try just two minutes later, racing to follow a high kicked and pressuring fullback Elliot Hall who let the ball bounce for his opposite number score.

This time, Kheirallah made no mistake with the kick and the score stretched to now 26-12.

Justin Sangaré made it 30 when he powered over between the posts on 50 minutes, giving Kheirallah his easiest conversion chance of the game, which he duly took to give TO a more respectable 32-12 lead.

With Ellois Pellisier on the field and controlling play the hosts looked more composed, and second rower Mathieu Jussaume raced over on the right after a Batley mistake. Kheirallah’s conversion made it 38-12 and the TO treizistes now looked an easy bet to host the Million Pound game at the Ernest Wallon stadium next Sunday.

Mitch Garbutt added the next score after a close-range charge through the defence on 65 minutes, while Kheirallah kicked his sixth conversion for a 44-12 score with a little over 10 minutes of the game remaining.

Gigot rubbed salt in the wound with a drop kick from 40m out with 77 minutes gone, and then Kheirallah took a speculative kick into the corner in the 79th minute for Joseph Paullo to race onto and gild the victory at 49-12, with Kheirallah knocking up the half century with a touchline conversion for a 51-12 final score.

So TOXIII will host the Million Pound game next Sunday and play for the chance to give Super League an all-French derby between them and the Catalan Dragons of Perpignan in 2022.

Toulouse Olympique XIII: Kheirallah (T, 6G), Hitchcox, Jussaume (T), Vaivai (T), Schaumkel, Gigot (T, DG), Ford, Casty (T), White, Hansen, Bretherton (T), Peyroux. Replacements: Pellisier, Garbutt (T), Sangare (T), Paulo.

Batley Bulldogs: Hooley, Campbell, Walshaw, Buchannon,  Johnson (T), White, Gilmore (2G), Blagbrough, Leak, Everett, Manning (T), Flynn, Brown. Replacements: Hall, Gledhill, Ward, Buchanan.

Referee: Liam Moore.

Venue: Stade Ernest Wallon

Half Time: 16-12

Full Time: 51-12

Score progression: 0-0, 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 12-0, 12-4, 12-6, 16-6, 16-10, 16-12. HT.  20-12, 24-12, 26-12, 30-12, 32-12, 36-12, 38-12, 42-12, 44-12, 45-12, 49-12, 51-12. FT.




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Posted by tb on Sat 2nd Oct 2021 5:06 PM | Views : 3046 | Replies : 1 | BACK TO STORIES
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This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
National Rugby League 2021 ROUND : 25
 PLDFADIFFPTS
Melbourne 24 815 316 499 42
Penrith 24 640 280 360 42
Souths 24 775 453 322 40
Manly 24 744 492 252 32
Sydney 24 636 475 161 32
Parramatta 24 566 457 109 30
Newcastle 24 428 571 -143 24
Gold Coast 24 568 553 15 20
 
Cronulla 24 512 556 -44 20
Canberra 24 481 578 -97 20
St.George 24 474 616 -142 16
NZ Warriors 24 453 624 -171 16
Wests 24 500 714 -214 16
Brisbane 24 446 695 -249 14
NQL Cowboys 24 460 748 -288 14
Canterbury 24 340 710 -370 6
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Super League XXVI ROUND : 25
 PLDFADIFFPTSDIFFWP%
Catalans 23 688 398 290 38 172.86 82.61
St.Helens 21 548 229 319 32 239.30 76.19
Warrington 21 588 354 234 31 166.10 73.81
Wigan 25 387 385 2 30 100.52 60
Leeds 24 556 440 116 26 126.36 54.17
Hull KR 20 497 458 39 20 108.52 50
 
Castleford 23 439 552 -113 22 79.53 47.83
Hull FC 21 409 476 -67 17 85.92 40.48
Huddersfield 24 460 516 -56 18 89.15 37.50
Wakefield 24 482 548 -66 18 87.96 37.50
Salford 22 402 586 -184 14 68.60 31.82
Leigh 22 356 870 -514 4 40.92 9.09
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Championship 2021 ROUND : 20
 PLDFADIFFPTSDIFFWP%
Toulouse 13 616 112 504 26 550 100
Featherstone 19 817 254 563 34 321.65 94.74
Halifax 19 512 323 189 26 158.51 68.42
Bradford 18 483 455 28 24 106.15 66.67
LondonB 18 504 499 5 21 101 63.89
Batley 19 525 370 155 24 141.89 63.16
 
Whitehaven 20 447 496 -49 21 90.12 52.50
York 19 470 455 15 16 103.30 42.11
Widnes 19 458 509 -51 15 89.98 39.47
Newcastle 18 381 521 -140 13 73.13 36.11
Sheffield 18 382 553 -171 13 69.08 36.11
Dewsbury 19 308 570 -262 13 54.04 34.21
Oldham 19 270 691 -421 5 39.07 13.16
Swinton 20 354 719 -365 3 49.24 7.50
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred League One 2021 ROUND : 22
 PLDFADIFFPTSDIFFWP%
Barrow 17 596 275 321 27 216.73 79.41
Workington 15 471 310 161 21 151.94 70
Doncaster 18 503 400 103 24 125.75 66.67
Keighley 19 640 399 241 25 160.40 65.79
Crusaders 18 553 438 115 22 126.26 61.11
Hunslet 19 572 466 106 20 122.75 52.63
 
Rochdale 17 505 488 17 17 103.48 50
Coventry 17 407 460 -53 12 88.48 35.29
LondonS 18 292 577 -285 7 50.61 19.44
West Wales 18 208 896 -688 1 23.21 2.78
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Womens Super League 2021 ROUND : 9
 PLDFADIFFPTSDIFFWP%
St.HelensW 7 370 36 334 12 1,027.78 85.71
WiganW 6 222 64 158 10 346.88 83.33
YorkW 6 186 102 84 8 182.35 66.67
CastlefordW 6 166 96 70 8 172.92 66.67
BradfordW 8 158 264 -106 6 59.85 37.50
Hudds W 7 104 288 -184 4 36.11 28.57
 
Wire W 8 150 334 -184 4 44.91 25
FeatherstoneW 8 122 338 -216 4 36.09 25
LeedsW 7 364 38 326 14 957.89 100
WakefieldW 7 50 332 -282 0 15.06 0
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