Bulldogs storm to Challenge Cup win at Toulouse

Dane Manning crossed for a crucial 52nd minute try which helped Batley secure victory in Toulouse and book their place in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fifth round.
Dane Manning crossed for a crucial 52nd minute try which helped Batley secure victory in Toulouse and book their place in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fifth round.

Batley Bulldogs stormed into the Challenge Cup fifth round with a terrific 34-16 win away to Toulouse Olympique last Saturday.

Batley had suffered a 44-6 defeat in France in their opening Championship fixture but the Bulldogs were far more clinical on their return, running in six tries.

Coach Matt Diskin had called for his side to show more consistency and they produced an excellent display of attacking rugby.

Batley took a ninth minute lead when a storming run by Joel Farrell saw him break through the Toulouse defence and set up a good attacking move.

Batley moved play right for Sam Smeaton to cross or the opening try, with Patch Walker landing a fine goal from wide out.

Toulouse hit back just two minutes later when centre Nicolas Bianchini crashed over wide on the left and Tony Maurel converted to level matters.

Batley took control of the game and after Alex Rowe’s strong drive was held in front of the posts, the Bulldogs moved left for Danny Cowling to force his way over, with Walker converting.

The Bulldogs grabbed a third try after 26 minutes when full-back Dave Scott met a pass at pace, shrugged off a would be tackler and stormed away for a terrific try, which Walker improved to give the Bulldogs an 18-6 interval lead.

James Brown was recalled to the Bulldogs line-up and the popular prop forward grabbed a crucial fourth try six minutes after the re-start when he gathered a lovely inside pass by Walker to crash over, with Walker again converting.

Brown drove Batley close to the line before Dane Manning met a pass at pace and showed real strength to carry several Toulouse defenders over the line.

Walker added his fifth conversion of the day and Batley had a healthy 30-6 lead.

Toulouse hit back with a 55th minute try, although there appeared to be a knock on in the build up.

Although the ball went to ground, play continued and when it bobbled to the in-goal area, Maxime Puech pounced for the try and Maurel converted.

From a scrum, the ball was moved to Justin Bouscayrol, who raced through a gap and over for a try but Maurel was unable to add the conversion and Batley still led by 14 points.

Batley’s defence tightened up and denied Toulouse further chances before the Bulldogs sealed victory with sixth try four minutes from full-time.

A neat attacking move saw the ball moved right and Smeaton sold a dummy to the winger before showing a turn of pace to race through a gap in the Toulouse defence and over for his second try.

It proved too wide out for Walker to convert but Batley had done enough to banish memories of their previous trip to France and book their place in the Challenge Cup fifth round.