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Super League sides put on notice as high-flying Championship boss reveals IMG grade will increase

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Toulouse Olympique head coach Sylvain Houles has stated that he believes his side’s IMG grade will increase, a message that will send out a warning to some Super League clubs teetering on the brink.

Indicative grades that were released last year saw Toulouse ranked 10th among the 35 professional clubs meaning that they would be in Super League if the grades were implemented there and then.

Below them were three of Super League’s current sides, Leigh Leopards and Castleford Tigers both within one point in 12th and 13th, and London Broncos who ranked a lowly 24th. It’s long been known that London will almost certainly drop out of the competition with Wakefield Trinity expected to return, but Toulouse could also.

The French side scores highly in areas such as catchment, something that rivals and current 13th-placed Castleford Tigers don’t score highly on at all.

Toulouse’s head coach Sylvain Houles has now told BBC Radio 5 Live that his team could well be back in Super League in 2025, believing the club’s grade will improve.

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Will Toulouse Olympique be in Super League in 2025?

Toulouse Super League

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Houles was speaking on the BBC Radio 5 Live podcast to preview the game between England and France this weekend but he also spoke about his side’s chances of returning to Super League.

He told the 5 Live Rugby League Podcast: “We still have a good grade. We need to improve it. I think little by little this season, we will and I hope we’re going to make it because it’s an important year for us, for the club and for rugby league. I think it will bring so much to the Super League having Toulouse, having Catalans and having that derby.”

Houles then opened up and spoke about whether he actually felt Super League wanted the Olympians in the competition. Asked, ‘Do you feel that Super League want you?’, Houles was honest in his answer.

“I don’t know, it’s hard to answer,” the Frenchman explained.

“It is made hard too. It’s well documented the money that we spent to go over there, pay for the other team as well and all of that doesn’t really help. It’s just such a shame.”

Does IMG grading make promotion impossible?

Credit: Imago Images

The Frenchman then continued his thread of honesty as he explained that he’s fearful that if his side don’t make the cut this year then Super League could become a closed shop, something that plenty of fans were critical of when the concept was introduced.

Elaborating on whether the top competition wants Toulouse, he added: “I hope they want us, and I hope we’re going to make it now that it’s obviously not just on the sports side because I don’t know what’s next.

“If we don’t make it this season. I don’t know what’s going to make us improve our grade if we don’t make it. We’ve been in the Championship for six years and it’s not like the Championship is going to help us to attract new partnerships, new activities, new crowds. Only the Super League is going to help us to do this.

“So, if we don’t make it now, I just don’t know how we’re going to improve our grades. The money side is the same. It’s being in the Super League that is going to help us with that.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Michael Wilks

    June 29, 2024 at 9:26 am

    This is the higher ups that do not want teams such as cas, and one or two other teams. Teams should only be in super league, if and only if they qualify on the pitch. The r.f.l especially, have always been against cas being in super league, ever since ot was formed in 1996.

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