Toulouse Olympique XIII v Rochdale Hornets
Saturday 19th August 2017, 20:00pm
Super 8s - Round: 3
Stats over last 5 encounters
HORNETS FACE FRENCH TEST
Rochdale Hornets will face yet another trip to France, as they visit Toulouse Olympique in the latest fixture of their Championship Shield campaign.
It will be the second time they have faced the French outfit away from home this season, with the game taking place at the unusual time of 7pm on Saturday evening.
Both clubs go into the game off the back of defeats, with Rochdale going down 34-14 to Batley Bulldogs at the Crown Oil Arena.
It wasn’t without controversy though, as at one point it was 12 vs 10, with Hornets seeing Gary Middlehurst dismissed, while Ben Moores and Jordan Case were sin binned.
Those decisions left head coach Alan Kilshaw fuming in his post-match interview with Rochdale13, as he claimed the display of the officials was ‘comical’.
They started the better of the two sides, and were unlucky to go into the break behind as Jake Eccleston and Kevin Penny crossed in the first period.
Chris Riley scored their only try during a period in which their opponents had a two-man advantage, as the score blew out due to fatigue, with Hornets tiring due to the sheer amount of defensive work they were forced into.
Toulouse fell to a narrow defeat to the form team of the competition, as Dewsbury Rams claimed a 36-34 triumph over the French side.
James Glover’s two-pointer was the difference in a 13-try thriller at the Tetley’s Stadium, as the Rams moved five points clear of Rochdale in fourth.
Despite the defeat, Toulouse are six points clear at the top of the Championship Shield table and are still favourites to remain there.
In the last meeting between these two sides, an inexperienced Hornets side were beaten 56-16, a game in which Dec Kay, Tyler Whittaker, Lewis Hatton, Lewis Foster and Danny Rasool all made their debut.
Since then, Kay has become an integral part of Kilshaw’s plans, with the tricky fullback impressing in every outing since.
Foster has become Danny Yates’ halfback partner and added an extra dimension with the boot, especially from the tee, while Hatton has excelled in the forward pack when called upon.
Earlier in the season Toulouse humbled Hornets at home, cruising to a 52-14 triumph, and while it has been two heavy defeats, the French side’s position in the table shows how tough of an opponent they are.
Injuries have hit Alan Kilshaw’s men ahead of the trip, and they could be without as many as six first team stars for their clash with their French rivals.
Jono Smith is ruled out with a concussion which was sustained against Batley, while the return of Miles Greenwood could be delayed due to the reoccurrence of a knee injury.
Foster has picked up a hip injury, while Kevin Penny, who has scored some sensational tries out wide, is missing due to a dead leg.
Jo Taira will not be able to travel because of visa issues, and Rob Massam’s rehabilitation from a knee injury is not yet complete, with the tank on the flank expected back for the visit of Oldham on Bank Holiday Monday.
Foster and Greenwood will face late fitness tests after being included in the 19 man squad, while Lewis Palfrey is also in with a chance of a return to action.