Toulouse chief is relishing Rovers showdown

Toulouse Olympique coach Sylvain Houles says he and his players are relishing the prospect of trying to maintain their 100 per cent record when they take on fellow Super League hopefuls Featherstone on Sunday.

The eagerly-awaited battle of the Championship’s top two is at Rovers’ Millennium Stadium, and while many believe it is a dress rehearsal for the promotion decider at the end of the season, Houles insists there’s a long way to go before thinking about the play-offs.

It’s been well documented that as a result of the RFL’s ruling that part-time teams are currently not expected to travel to France because of the UK government’s regulations on quarantining upon return, and full-time London Broncos’ decision not to make the trip, Toulouse have yet to play a home game this year.

In their eight outings, all on English soil, they have scored 409 points and conceded 88 (they were awarded a 24-0 win against the Broncos, whom they visit on Sunday week, August 8).

It’s an impressive record, but Houles, who accepts his side might not run out at the Stade Ernest Wallon at all this year (there are three more scheduled home games, against Halifax, Batley and York), knows it will be put to the test by Featherstone.

“It’s a big game, a clash of the best two teams in the division so far, and we are all looking forward to it,” he told League Express.

“We want to play tough matches, that’s what competitive rugby is all about, and this will certainly be one of those.
“It’s a great challenge for us. They have a good team, with a lot of experienced players, just like ourselves.

“They are really well coached by James (Webster), and it’s a very interesting game. I’m sure they are looking forward to it also.

“With them playing each week, it’s maybe an advantage, because it’s better to be doing that for the rhythm of the team.

“But we can’t change that situation, so we don’t worry about it, we just get on with doing our job and stay focused.”

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