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Top against second in the Betfred Championship, as Toulouse Olympique XIII welcomed the Toronto Wolfpack to the Stade Ernest Argeles. Todays winners would be top of the pile at the end of the Easter fixtures, a draw would leave Toulouse one point clear at the top.

Both sides came into the game on the back of great results on Good Friday, Toulouse having inflicted London Broncos first defeat of the season while Toronto scored well against Featherstone at Post Office Road.

Toulouse were without Marguerite and Barthau (injured), replaced by the skipper Planas and Bentley, moving into the half-back role from loose-forward. There was no O’Brien (concussion), or Stanley (rested) for Toronto with McCrone and Sims both being replaced in the staring line-up.

The Wolfpack started the brightest and enjoyed the majority of field position and possession but the Toulouse defence held strong until the seventeenth minute when moment of magic, a looping pass from Ryan Brierley, put Jonny Pownall free to go over on the overlap. Brierley added the extras to establish a 6-0 lead.

On twenty-four minutes Nick Rawsthorpe picked up a loose ball, seemingly from a knock-on by his own side, and went forty metres before finding Liam Kay in support to go the remaining thirty to dive over for the second of the afternoon. Referee Smith was happy with the pasage of play and pointed to the spot. Brierley couldn’t add the conversion.

Toulouse hit back on twenty-seven with a try from the back of the scrum when Rhys Curran took a short ball to crash over the line after Johnathon Ford had fed Sam Rapira. Mark Kheriallah added the conversion and the margin was back down to just four points. 

It was turning into a war of attrition between two quality sides.

Four minutes from half-time and a super score from Nick Rawsthorne, stepping of both feet,  to reach for the line and score. Brierley failed to convert, hitting the far upright and the cross bar. Toulouse had a Paul Marcon try ruled out for a forward pass just a minute later, but Andy Ackers grabbed Toronto’s fourth try of the afternoon from nothing when he took a pass and strolled through the tired Toulouse defence. On the hooter Brierley added the extras for a 22-6 half-time lead, the Wolfpack in total control.

Early in the second half some terrific Wolfpack defence held Tony Maurel up over the line and carried him into touch. On fifty-one Toulouse lost the ball near their own line and Rawsthorne took full advantage when he took a Blake Wallace pass to go in. Brierley failed to convert from the touchline.

On fifty-six Toulouse made a try from litte when the big forward Clement Boyer stepped around a defender and went through a gap to stretch for the line. Kheirallah hit the target with his kick for 12-24 with just over twenty to play.

Stan Robin should have scored for Olympique on sixty-one but put in a poor grubber which was picked up by Blake Wallace for Toronto.

On sixty-six a lovely flowing try got Toulouse within a score of Toronto as Marcon, Kheirallah and Robin combined to put the scrum-half over under the sticks. Kheirallah added the conversion for 18-24 and the game was well and truly back on.

Toulouse went close on seventy but flung the ball into Toronoto hands with the line beckoning. On seventy-five Brierley pushed a drop goal attempt wide of the left upright as he sought a seven point lead.

Fast hands in a right to left move allowed Tony Maurel to score wide left with just a couple of minutes left on the clock. Kheirallah couldn’t add the extras and with just over two minutes left the Wolfpack were holding on to a two point lead.

Panic football in the dying seconds from Toulouse as they threw everything at the Wolfpack ended with the ball going into touch and Toronto held on for the 24-22 win.

This was a fantastic game played in a great spirit between two sides with aspirations of Super League in 2019. There were mistakes, but mostly forced by some courageous defences. Toronto go top of the pile by a point in a very competitive Championship.

Olympique XIII: Kheirallah (3G), Maurel, Ader, Planas, Marcon, Ford, Robin (T), Bentley, Curran (T), Mika, Rapira, Marion, Canet.  Subs: Kriouache, Boyer (T), Hepi, Pettybourne.

Wolfpack: Laulu-Togagae, Pownall (T), Rawsthorne (2T), Worthington, Kay (T), Wallace, Brierley (2G), Emmitt, Ackers (T), Buchanan, Bussey, Whiting, Hopkins.  Subs: Maitua, McCrone, Sidlow, Sims.

Referee: Jack Smith.

Half-Time: 6-20.

Full-Time: 22-24.

Attendance: .



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Mon 2nd Apr 2018 3:24 PM | Views : 2128 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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