Toulouse Olympique v Batley Bulldogs: Craig Lingard's side have nothing to lose in Championship play-off semi-final

Batley Bulldogs are not treating their Championship play-off semi-final against Toulouse Olympique as a foregone conclusion, insists head coach Craig Lingard.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 12:00 pm
Batley players celebrate after their play-off win over Bradford Bulls. Picture: Neville Wright

The Bulldogs head to France on Saturday, October 2, to take on the league leaders after securing a fine win over Bradford Bulls in the first round of the play-offs last weekend.

Toulouse are heavy favourites to advance, having won all of their matches this season.

However, even though they beat Batley when the sides met earlier in the campaign, the Bulldogs are the only team to have taken the lead against the French outfit this year. In their last two outings, Toulouse have racked up an astonishing 142 points while conceding just 18.

Lingard is under no illusions about the task his side faces on Saturday but won’t let his players feel beaten before a ball has been kicked.

“It is 80 minutes with 17 blokes against 17 blokes. It is going to be a real tough task for us, there are no two ways about that. We have got nothing to lose but we want our season to continue,” said the Bulldogs chief.

“We are not going to go there and throw it away. A lot of teams seem to play Toulouse and try things they wouldn’t normally do. We are going into that semi-final with the intention that we are going to win, as we did when we played them at Batley.

“We were winning at one point in that game but at the end of the day they just had a little too much for us in that second half. The last few games they played were all blow-out scores. Teams maybe go into games against Toulouse with the impression they are going to lose.

“We are certainly not going to do that. We are going to go out there and give it our best shot and if that is not good enough, then we will wish Toulouse best in the final. But we are going out to win the game, there is no two ways about that.”