TToulouse at the bottom of the Super League table is a sad read for those hoping the Olympics will survive or even thrive this season. But we have to look at 2024: then Toulouse should strive to sit at the highest table and be ready to take its place when any new race format is approved.
With only two victories in the first 15 games in the Super League, it can be assumed that Toulouse has already fallen. Not so, although their fate will most likely be decided in July. Even if they lose to Wigan on Friday night, they will be just six points behind in their next home game against Hull KR. Then immediately comes a series of meetings with three of the above four teams: Magic weekend Wakefield and at home Leeds and Salford.
Toulouse could win three of these, after which Hull could be encouraged to travel to KR and Warrington. The club hopes the local community will lag behind them in the month they need them – fans can buy tickets for all four home games in July for just € 25 – given they face Wigan, Catalonia and St. Helens after the championship. knowing that in the last four games of the campaign.
Coach Sylain Houles makes all the necessary noises: yes, it was difficult, but we did not give up. Even if they are relegated, the perceptive Howles will have achieved an astonishing success: in each of the nine seasons he has led Toulouse, he will have climbed the RFL ladder to a higher level. Very few coaches in world sports can say that. Toulouse will no doubt be questioning the 40-year-old if he is relegated.
Their season could easily have been different. If Toulouse had won against Wigan and Huddersfield instead of losing by the last few goals, or if they had beaten one of their lower-league rivals by a few points more than St Helens, they would have won only three, not three.
Obviously, they haven’t won enough games, but they aren’t beaten every week. Their points difference is -11.9 per game, and eight of the 13 defeats are 12 points or less. If they scored more goals in one attempt and conceded a little, their season would change.
Another problem is that they have reached the top against the leading teams of the competition, rather than their teammates. Wigan pushed Catalonia and Huddersfield all the way, but none of their narrowest five defeats were (simply) against the four teams in their hands. Pushing the best sides while being easily beaten by those around you is useless for the hopes of survival.
Resting in the west of France last week seemed like a natural time to read Roger Grimm’s book, The Stormy Sixties, about the French national rugby league team in the decade since France played in 50 international competitions. They won half of their 20 Tests against the UK, beating Australia three times, and their local game was attractive enough to have top-tier clubs at St-Étienne, Roanne and Mulhouse on the German border.
However, media coverage of France’s top 14 play-offs has left British league fans confused: Perpignan fans stormed the pitch with Catalan flags; 18,000 Stade Ernest beat TO 3,300 Castleford there a few hours later in Wallon; Bordeaux’s historic Stade du Parc Lescure, home to many magical rugby league matches, including France, which defeated Australia in 1963, 27,000; While rugby league clubs are featured on the front page of Tarn and Provence and the sports daily L’Équipe on primetime TV, the Dragons’ final victory was given in just two sentences, the Toulouse defeat in just one sentence and a photo of Matty Russell. It’s hard not to be jealous.
At least the presence of Toulouse Olympique means that more French players will gain Super League experience. When France face England and Samoa at the World Cup, it won’t help much on their own, but their federation aims to have a successful 2025 at home, and after losing the last six World Cup matches, those in charge understand that they have defeated Greece. October would be the beginning of their recovery. The departure of France over the next few years will have a significant impact on where the IRL will hold them before the 2025 World Cup, which automatically entitles them to hosts.
Sunday was the start of Ueli’s 34-10 defeat. While there were dozens of Dragons on the French side, only two Toulouse players started, and two more were on the bench. Having a national team of only two clubs is a problem: just look at Italy and Scotland in the rugby union. In the book Stormy Sixties, Grime writes: “A very small number of elite players required a lot.” This is true now as it was then. At least in the Super League, the pool of full-time talent is expanding with Toulouse, perhaps only until September.
However, it is still rare for a local player to be selected for any product imported from abroad by Dragons or Olympique, especially for creative positions. With the Dragons spending a lot of money on England captain Sam Tomkins in defense and a pair of high-profile Australian midfielders like Josh Drinkwater and Mitchell Pierce (and James Maloney before him), the incredibly talented Arthur Mourg should fill it where he can. For some time this spring, Toulouse had injury problems, with Howles choosing names from the hat and a half-wing pair. He now settled with Lucas Albert along with NRL veteran Corey Norman, and Tony Gigot was in favor.
Despite the injury to Huddersfield’s Theo Fajs, French coach Laurent Fryssinous and director Trent Robinson chose Cesar Rouge, a teenager more than Albert, to partner with 23-year-old clubmate Mourgue on Sunday. With so little opportunity at Dragons, Rouge’s next game will be leased to Whitehaven on Sunday. Fryssinous and Robinson look to the future, ignoring the trio of 31-year-old international players (Gigot, Stan Robin and Dane Chisholm). When Mourgue aggravated his ankle injury on Sunday, back defender Morgan Escare was halved.
Salford defender Escare was the only English-based player on the French team, a role played by Jerome Guissett on another roast day in Albide 22 years ago, when Houles and Fryssinous contributed 56 points to captain the French Irish team. hot and restless Barrie McDermott. The rest of the French team came from eight French clubs, as was the case when France defeated Wales in 1963 and 1969.
The fact that Toulouse is in the Super League is not a potion for all the problems of the French rugby league. It would be good if the French sports community took into account that so far only two Olympic Games have been broadcast live on TV. However, their presence gives the code great opportunities.
If they fall this fall, Toulouse will have to keep their nerves. It is likely that they will be replaced by Leigh, which means that Toulouse will compete with Featherstone in the first place to advance in 2023. Until then, the format of the elite competition may change.
If the new partners hope to make money from the success of the Catalans to take advantage of IMG’s entire game, the Super League needs a second French club. Houles has said this many times. But whether the completion is expanded or not, he knows that his best chances to return to Toulouse will be instantaneous.
World Cup watch
Wales, who have made six debutants, could be pleased with their performance at Albi last Sunday. Without Reagan Grace and Gil Dudson, John Kear’s only Super League regular was Salford defender Rhys Williams. His record-breaking 31st appearance is even more impressive than the Welshman’s 31-month absence.
Of the 16 men’s teams to compete in this year’s World Cup by the end of this weekend, only Australia, Greece, Ireland and Italy will not play until November 2019. However, Italy has confirmed a perfect new management team for the World Cup. : Head coach Leo Epifania – once York boss – will be joined by World Cup-winning coach Tim Sheens as technical director, former Hull FC locker on power and air conditioning Tony Grimaldi, former double international Terry Kampese and Tas as assistant coach. Baitieri as a team manager.
One more thing
The famous French rugby was hidden in the yellow pages of the two-week Bible Midi-Olympique, Pia Donkeys won gold points over Baho in the Elite 2 final and was interviewed by about 3,000 spectators on Brute. Pia now has to confirm that they are ready to be the 10th team in Elite 1 after competing with only nine sides last season after the death of the Palau Broncos. While some may mock another high-profile Catalan village club, Pia is a four-time national champion, last caught only a decade ago, shortly after years of signing up for years of impossible imports, and finally caught up and lost his stomach. up. Their return is to be welcomed.
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