Toulouse Olympique pulled off a shock 34-23 comeback victory over Hull Kingston Rovers in the penultimate round of the Super 8s Qualifiers to keep alive their promotion hopes.
The French side recovered an early 19-0 deficit in emphatic fashion to secure a third win of the competition.
Toulouse centre Chris Centrone scored a brace of tries with additions from second rower Rhys Curran, half-back Stan Robin, Gavin Marguerite and Bastien Ader - and Mark Kheirrallah on target with five conversions.
The hosts made a dream start after five minutes when prop Rob Mulhern crashed over from close range for the opening try and winger Craig Hall quickly added a second with Danny Tickle adding both conversions before a Danny McGuire drop goal.
Toulouse 18-19 Rovers at half time. Rovers will be disappointed with the way they have let Toulouse back into the game after building an early lead. Huge second half coming up pic.twitter.com/ZwBj1ghVnC— Hull Kingston Rovers (@hullkrofficial) 22 September 2018
Chris Atkin went over for their third try after 24 minutes and Tickle took Rovers' their lead to 19-0 before the hosts hit back. Hall grabbed his second try eight minutes from time but it was too late.
Hull KR coach Tim Sheens said: “To be 19 points up and get run down and run over is very, very disappointing. I think we got in front and thought we just had to keep going and we’d win the game but those three tries in the first half brought them right back into it.
REACTION: Tim Sheens' press conference summed up in this sentence ... "To say I’m not happy is an understatement but I’ve got to keep a level head on things." Rovers boss visibly furious but focuses his attention on a huge match next Sunday against Widnes. https://t.co/3hFuYr2TtW pic.twitter.com/K7c4HapzaV— Hull Kingston Rovers (@hullkrofficial) 22 September 2018
“We’ll get right to work tonight on the guys to give them as long as possible because we’ve got some important players struggling and not too many guys coming back so we’ve got to put a team and a plan together to beat Widnes at home.”
Toulouse coach Sylvain Houles said: “We gave them a few penalties on the last tackle in the first 20 minutes and they took their chances to go 19-0 up. We asked them some questions and they came up with the answers.
"I kept telling the boys to keep believing in what we’re doing because we will go through as soon as we get our hands on the ball and that’s what we did. I thought our bench was phenomenal, the boys pushed really hard and took their opportunities.”