Fax improve, but Kheirallah kicks Toulouse to Shay victory

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Two late penalties from Australian full back Mark Kheirallah finally settled a see saw Championship thriller at the Shay in Toulouse’s favour.

The French side won 30-22 after stubbornly resisting the challenge of a much-improved Halifax side, who led until Paterika Vaivai’s 65th-minute try finally swung the momentum of the contest against them.

Kheirallah’s conversion put Toulouse back in front for the first time since the first quarter, and although Fax had some late chances - Ed Barber and Will Sharp both going close - Kheirallah’s 76th and 80th minute penalties rounded off a crucial win for the French side.

Earlier, Fax home side had fallen behind after just three minutes, winger Ilias Bergal scoring after Jonathon Ford’s high kick was spilled by Scott Grix, then shipped wide to the left.

Kheirallah missed the conversion and Fax stuck to their task, consistently working the ball down the middle of the field.

They had already gone close twice through Sharp and Barber by the time they cracked their visitors after 18 minutes, hooker Ben Kaye scoring from close range and Steve Tyrer converting for 6-4.

Grix’s side were dominating possession and there was no real surprise when they went back to back, Adam Tangata bursting through the line and stretching out to touchdown.

Tyrer converted for 12-4, but Toulouse underlined their attacking threat with Bergal’s second, Kheirallah converting to leave the scores poised at 12-10.

Fax forced an error from the restart though and Scott Murrell kicked wide on the last tackle, Tyrer soaring above the defence to score.

His conversion bounced away off the posts, but Fax led 16-10, at least until Mathieu Jussaume touched down just before the break after some slick right-side attack, Kheirallah missing the kick for a 16-14 interval scoreline.

Fax drew first blood two minutes after the restart, Brandon Moore bursting down the middle and James Woodburn-Hall kicking behind the line for Shaun Robinson to touchdown, Tyrer converting from the sideline to put the home side 22-14 ahead.

But a brilliant kick from Ford carved out a try for Anthony Marion, converted by Kheirallah, which closed the gap to 22-20 before the giant Vaivai barged over to finally crack the home side’s resistance.

Halifax: Grix; Robinson, Tyrer, Saltonstall, Sharp; Murrell, Woodburn-Hall; Tangata, Kaye, Kavanagh, Cooper, Barber, Fairbank. Subs: Moore, Larroyer, Fleming, Davies

Toulouse: Kheirallah; Marcon, Jussaume, T. Vaivai, Bergal; Ford, Robin; Boyer, Marion, P. Vaivai, Mika, Bretherton, Bell. Subs: Parata, Hepi, Dezaria, Sangare

Referee: C. Worsley

Attendance: 1,290