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Featherstone produce another strong second-half display to continue perfect start to season

Winger Luke Briscoe scored two tries for Featherstone. Picture: Dec Hayes.
Winger Luke Briscoe scored two tries for Featherstone. Picture: Dec Hayes.

FEATHERSTONE recovered from 14-8 down early in the second-half to maintain their 100 per cent record in the Betfred Championship with Sunday’s 36-18 win over Toulouse Olympique at LD Nutrition Stadium.

Featherstone’s fitness again told in a strong finish like it did in their opening day victory over Halifax.

Winger Luke Briscoe bagged two tries, half-back Martyn Ridyard kicked six goals and impressive Mitch Clark scored his first try for the club as Rovers inflicted Toulouse’s first defeat.

Featherstone did well to survive early Toulouse pressure before Ridyard put them ahead with a sixth minute penalty goal.

Toulouse’s Charles Bouzinac went close and Briscoe then missed a chance when he lost the ball near the try line.

The French side, who completed a league double over Featherstone last season, scored the opening try after 18 minutes when half-backs William Barthau and Robin made the opening for Paul Marcon to race over for the first of his two touchdowns and Mark Kheirallah converted.

Six minutes later, Toulouse’s substitute Tyla Hepi was sin-binned and Rovers soon capitalised on the extra man.

Briscoe dived in at the corner but he was ruled out to have been in touch but the winger made no mistake in the 30th minute when Tom Holmes sent him over to level the scores.

Ridyard edged Rovers back in front with a penalty goal and Toulouse then had a let off when Ridyard touched down Anthony Thackeray’s kick but the effort was disallowed for offside.

The game swung back Toulouse’s way two minutes before half-time when Barthau created a try for Rhys Curran to put the visitors 10-8 up.

Featherstone fell further behind three minutes into the second-half when Marcon bagged his second try after great work by Kheirallah but they quickly replied when Thackeray went in from Holmes’s pass to cut the gap to two points.

Featherstone then took control with two tries in two minutes, with Holmes putting in the Clark - signed on loan from Castleford Tigers - and then John Davies, with Ridyard adding both conversions.

They sealed victory 13 minutes from time when Josh Hardcastle scored from Thackeray’s superb pass.

Leeds Rhinos dual registered centre Ash Handley nearly scored from Ridyard’s kick before Briscoe darted in for his second.

Toulouse had the last word three minutes from time when Gavin Marguerite crossed at the corner.

Featherstone Rovers: Thackeray; Briscoe, Hardcastle, Handley, Taulapapa; Ridyard, Holmes; Wheeldon, Carlile, Moore, Farrell, Davies, Lockwood. Subs: Wildie, Knowles, Hock, Clark.

Toulouse Olympique: Kheirallah; Marcon, Marguerite, Ader, Maurel; Barthau, Robin; Puech, Bouzinac, Canet, Curran, Mika, Marion. Subs: Kriouache, Bentley, Hepi, Pettybourne.

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (RFL).

Attendance: 2,033.