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“I think the identity of Huddersfield had been lost and I think we’re getting that back” – Ian Watson reacts to victory over “banana skin” Toulouse

Last night Huddersfield started their 2022 campaign with a 42-14 win over Toulouse away from home.

The score line seems to suggest it was plain sailing but the Giants trailed 10-0 early on before a try from skipper Luke Yates turned things around. They led at the break and then went on to win the second half 26-4 with young halfback Olly Russell catching the eye.

Against Toulouse on a historic night in unfamiliar surroundings, the Giants did well to turn the game around after trailing 10-0 and Head Coach Ian Watson emphasised this point in his post-match press conference.

“Everyone probably predicted a bit of a banana skin,” he said, “Coming to Toulouse not knowing what they’re about or what the surroundings are like, we’ve never been here before. I thought we handled it really well.

“We didn’t start as well as we wanted to. I’d say they got the better of us in those first 15 minutes. We started off a little bit soft, people like Joe Greenwood and Seb Ikahihifo generated some momentum.”

He also gave an update on Jake Wardle who rolled his ankle during the game: “He rolled it, he did it a little bit before and we were going to take him off then but he said he was fine. Then when he scored someone landed on it and we decided then to take him off.

“Once we’ve seen him go down again we thought get him off but he isn’t too bad at this moment in time we’ll see where he gets to.”

A major win for the Giants despite the worrying injury to Wardle, it’s a world apart from the way the Giants began last season. After lots of hype, they lost to Hull FC in Round One. Watson believed that it could be the start of a refresh at the Giants: “I think it’s about the Huddersfield team and getting that feel back and I think we’ve done that. We’ve had a good preseason and we’ve had discussion about the history of Huddersfield with people like Douglas Clarke. I think the identity of Huddersfield had been lost and I think we’re getting that back.”

Huddersfield’s new signings will likely be key to this including Theo Fages who Watson praised after the game: “Theo has been a really big influence on our team. He’s come from the Champions and he’s put his stamp on the group and I think he’ll get better and better.”

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