Powell happy to take the road into Europe with Featherstone

Featherstone Rovers coach Daryl Powell relishes the chance for his Championship Grand Final winners to be European kings.

The usual league campaign is put on hold this weekend in readiness for the inaugural Anglo-French Challenge.

Featherstone face the 2012 French Elite One Championship winners Pia XIII at Post Office Road tomorrow while today Halifax are at Toulouse Olympique, Sheffield Eagles venture to Carcossonne, and Leigh host Avignon.

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Essentially, the RFL have developed a concept to strengthen links and further improve the French game, with a rather tenuous tagline of saying it will decide the strongest semi-professional rugby league competition in Europe.

The Challenge will be determined by results of all four matches unless it ends 2-2 when aggregating the combined points scored will decide the victor.

The idea has plenty of critics, not least Sheffield coach Mark Aston who questions its worthiness, but former Great Britain star Powell is happy to fly the flag for England.

“It will be a good chance to test ourselves and the Championship against our French counterparts,” he said.

“We’ve had some experience playing against French teams such as Toulouse and Lezignan.

“They are big, physical sides that are fast-paced so we are expecting a tough contest against Pia.

“They finished top of the league and although they had a few defeats towards the end of the season, are a good side that will be looking to top their triumph in the league with a win against us.

“I’m looking forward to the match and the opportunity to be crowned European club champions will be something special.”

Meanwhile, Featherstone forward Anthony England has been charged with punching in Sunday’s win at Hunslet and has until Wednesday to submit an early guilty plea.