It was a relaxed Matt Calland who spoke after his team’s 36 - 26 Northern Rail Cup quarter final victory over a resilient Toulouse Olympique team, where a first half performance out of the top drawer gave Halifax a sufficient cushion to withstand the French second half comeback.
“The first half we were clinical; we stuck to our gameplan, made good yards through the forwards and showed bags of enthusiasm to get a very good and well deserved lead,” said Calland.
“We gave Toulouse absolutely nothing and to be honest, completely shut them out of the game. The difference between that match and the game here a month ago was enormous.”
The second half was not so much to his liking when the long journey and stifling weather saw Toulouse mount an impressive fight back.
“The second half we came out and played soft to be fair. It is really difficult to maintain the same, high level of intensity when you are thirty points up.
“We let them back into it a bit and the heat also took its toll on the players. We had them in the air conditioned hotel as long as possible before the game to shield them from the temperatures but late on we were suffering a bit.
“The injury to Miles Greenwood also saw us have to reshuffle the structure of the team with Paul White moving to full back. Greenwood’s cut up around the mouth but managed to get back on late in the game.”
Despite the somewhat shaky start to the campaign, Calland remains relaxed and confident about the Fax season.
“I don’t feel under pressure,” said Calland.
“We are only three games into the season and have faced some good clubs. If it was the end of the season and we were in the same position that would be a different matter, but that first half was what we have worked hard for, and is the type of play we want to see.”
He didn’t want to comment on any individuals but instead praised the team performance.
“There was plenty of spirit on show on that pitch, we are getting our combinations working, and are coming together as a team,” he said.
“To come here and overcome an excellent Toulouse effort in what I thought was a great game of rugby league was a great performance. We’re in the next round of the cup and are very happy indeed”.
Batley completed the semi final quartet, joining Fax, Leigh and Featherstone in the hat for Thursday night’s draw after beating Batley 38-22 at Rams Stadium.
Hull KR coach Justin Morgan believes his side’s 38-28 win over Leeds can kick-start their Engage Super League campaign.
The Robins came from 10-0 down to run in seven tries and claim their second win in eight matches to rekindle their play-off hopes.
“I have been saying we were not far away and today was evidence of that,” said Morgan. “For 80 minutes we were pretty good.
“The players showed determination on the back of two fairly intense weeks of training. We had to lift the intensity and we saw the results of that.
“I’m very proud of the players and I put the credit at their doorstep. They’re the ones who turn up and train every week. I’m happy for them that they got a result over a very good team.
“We scored some lovely tries and our defensive technique improved. The order will be more of the same next week. We have to back it up against Wigan.
“It’s a bit of relief at the moment and I think we will get that confidence boost. The belief has always been there but the win gives you confidence.”