Toulouse beat Featherstone 34-12 in the Million Pound Game to ensure there will be two French teams in Super League in 2022.
Sylvain Houles’ men ended 18 years of hurt after Toulouse lost out to Catalans Dragons when the Rugby Football League chose its preferred French team in 2003.
The Catalans went on to reach the Super League Grand Final and, although they lost to St Helens on Saturday, they can now look forward to at least two French derbies in the top flight next season.
And it was Toulouse’s ex-Catalans trio of Remi Casty, who confirmed his retirement at the end of the game, Tony Gigot and Eloi Pelissier that helped lay the foundation for a thoroughly impressive first-half display which enabled them to build a 16-0 lead against their part-time opponents.
Centre Mathieu Jussaume got the scoreboard ticking over after five minutes, taking an offload from former St Helens second rower Dominique Peyroux to glide over for the first of his two tries, which was converted by full-back Mark Kheirallah.
As the home side maintained the pressure, Kheirallah kicked a couple of penalty goals and winger Latrell Schaumkel touched down a kick from Tony Gigot to register a second try after 18 minutes.
Featherstone gradually stemmed the onslaught but were never able to put the Toulouse defence under pressure until an interval pep talk from coach James Webster did the trick.
Australian half-back Dane Chisholm put former Leeds and England second rower Brett Ferres through a gap in the Olympique defence for a try which was converted by Craig Hall.
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A 40-20 kick from Chisholm enabled the Yorkshiremen to keep the momentum and Hall and Ferres both went close to adding further tries.
Jussaume eased the growing anxiety in the home camp when he took Pelissier’s pass to cross for his second try in the 64th minute but second rower John Davies’ converted try for Rovers three minutes just about kept his side in contention.
Kheirallah eventually put Featherstone out of reach with another penalty before former Wigan forward Harrison Hansen crashed through for Toulouse’s fourth try seven minutes from the end.
Kheirallah kicked his seventh goal from eight attempts before stand-off Johnathan Ford added a last-minute try to stretch his side’s winning run to 20 matches and leave Featherstone contemplating a second Million Pound defeat in four years.