13th September 2019, 10:44 | championship
The race for a place in the Betfred Super League gets underway this weekend with four teams battling it out in Week One of the Betfred Championship play-offs.
York City Knights – who have surprised many by finishing 3rd after earning promotion from Betfred League 1 last season – face a difficult trip to Toulouse Olympique who were the best of the rest behind league leaders Toronto Wolfpack. The game will be broadcast live on Our League from 2pm on Saturday.
The Knights and Toulouse had been vying it out for 2nd place for the final few months of the season but it was the French side who managed to earn home advantage in the qualifying final by finishing just one point above York. Toulouse come into the play-offs on the back of seven consecutive victories, with their most recent coming against fellow promotion hopefuls Featherstone Rovers.
🤔 Only five remain in the @Betfred Championship play-offs...— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) September 10, 2019
❓ But who do @alexsimmonstv and @AHendo09 think will make it through week 1?
📺 Watch the Championship wrap now: https://t.co/pJG1IQ5zoK pic.twitter.com/1SlIVwhf0D
York finished the season in equally impressive fashion losing just one of their final 11 outings, this defeat coming in Toronto. This formidable run saw James Ford’s men come out on top in a number of tight games with seven of these victories coming by a margin of eight points or less.
However, two of York’s seven losses in the Championship this season have come against Toulouse. Sylvain Houles’ men earned a narrow 30-26 win over York at the Stade Ernest Argeles in April thanks to a late Anthony Marion try. Toulouse repeated the feat in June as William Barthau’s late kicking display earned a crucial two points.
While the winner will face the unenviable trip to Toronto, the loser will get a second chance and welcome the winner of Leigh Centurions and Featherstone Rovers in Week Two of the play-offs. This game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Arena from 6:30pm.
John Duffy’s side were in with a shot of a top three finish, but a dramatic defeat to York fortnight ago meant the Centurions will need to come through the elimination final if they’re to progress in this year’s play-offs. Leigh enjoyed a run of just one defeat in ten games between June and August but finished the season with consecutive losses following a heavy 46-12 defeat at Lamport Stadium.
Featherstone sealed their play-off berth a fortnight ago with a 0-64 demolition of Batley Bulldogs. This victory came either side of narrow losses to fellow promotion chasers York and Toronto but prior to this Rovers lost just one Championship fixture between late-April and mid-August.
Odds are even between the two sides in 2019 with both sides winning their respective home fixture in the Championship. The Centurions earned a 29-20 win in February against Featherstone while the Rovers came away with a 24-20 victory over Leigh at the LD Nutrition Stadium in July.
For a reminder of the Betfred Championship play-off structure, click HERE.
Sign-up to Our League HERE and watch Toulouse host York in the play-offs LIVE on Saturday from 2pm.