Toulouse Olympique 14-24 Catalans Dragons: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

Toulouse’s Super League status is gone in a blow for French rugby league ironically struck by their French rivals Catalans Dragons who inch towards fourth spot.

Highlights:

Dragons ruthless in the derby
Catalans’ record try scorer added another to his near 100 total when he and his teammates caught Toulouse cold keeping the ball alive smartly after a kick allowing Fouad Yaha to get over in the corner in a real fast and ruthless start from the Dragons: exactly what they needed after defeat last week.

One-legged Tomkins making it two try start for Yaha
Whilst Toulouse were forced into plenty of changes across their backline with Tony Gigot and co out, Catalans were able to feature Josh Drinkwater at seven and crucially has Sam Tomkins linking out the back. Though he was struggling with a knee injury, the fullback’s runs out the back paid off as he created a second try for Yaha.

25 minute hat-trick
It didn’t take long for Yaha to get his third. It was a try that owed much to the ball playing ability of his forwards with plenty of offloads getting Catalans rolling before a lovely ball from Matt Whitley sent Yaha over.

Hankinson hits back
Toulouse had been well up against it for most of the first half but crucially kept in touch with Catalans when a running Chris Hankinson found just enough space to squeeze through and score despite a desperate effort from Tyrone May.

Massive tackle keeps Toulouse in it
It looked like Hankinson’s try would mean very little when Sam Tomkins went on a typically elusive run but a superb cover tackle from Olly Ashall-Bott and Lucas Albert saw them haul him down. The Man of Steel looked to twist the ball down but lost it in the process.

Simple but effective
Sometimes rugby games require simplicity and that’s exactly what Catalans delivered to get a crucial try in the second half after being down to 12 for the start of the second period. Gil Dudson was the beneficiary claiming a short ball to crash over.

May be the difference
Backing up that try from Dudson, Catalans conjured up a crucial try through the innovation of Tyrone May who chased his own delicate grubber to ground it and score to create a 16-point lead.

A reminder what Toulouse can do
There was a real reminder of what Toulouse can offer with a lovely try at the death when James Cunningham’s offload sent Olly Ashall-Bott away to out fox Tomkins to score.

Talking Points:

A special occasion lost
Tonight’s game was clearly a special occasion. The atmosphere around the ground was fantastic and plenty of spectators took their seats in the stadium clearly excited by the prospect of a French derby. It’s a shame that the result will mean we don’t see that occasion again in 2023 and will have to hope that maybe it returns again later down the line. Though night’s like this will have little value to the English game, it is a massive benefit to the wider sport in Europe and the growing fan base there and the loss of this rivalry still in its infancy is a blow.

Toulouse out muscled
Muscles are built over time after hard work and persistence but you need the right kind of equipment to do so. That’s very much like Toulouse who have started building their own Super League muscles but will now lose the platform to continue that progression due to relegation. They were very clearly out muscled down the middle of the field tonight struggling to get a foothold in the game when Catalans got a role on. Toulouse just didn’t have the personnel in the middle to match them with a hooker at 13 in James Cunningham but what do you expect when they can’t recruit until promotion is secured.

Fiery French flavour
There was a real fiery flavour to the game despite the distance between the two in the league ladder with cards shown and a touch of fracas. This shows the value of the rivalry once again.

Catalans headed for fourth
Catalans have inched a step closer to fourth despite their shaky form recently. If they can wrap it up with one win required from the last two games, it’ll be vital due to their traditional effectiveness at home.

Player Ratings:

Toulouse Olympique
27 Olly Ashall-Bott – 7
2 Latrell Schaumkel – 6
24 Guy Armitage – 6
5 Paul Macron – 6
20 Ilias Bergal – 6
7 Lucas Albert – 6
21 Chris Hankinson – 7
8 Romain Navarette – 6
28 Nathan Peats – 7
35 Daniel Alvaro – 6
11 Andrew Dixon – 6
30 Maxime Stefani – 6
19 James Cunningham – 7
Substitutes
14 Eloi Pelissier – 6
15 Maxime Puech – 6
23 Justin Sangare – 7
29 Lambert Belmas – 6

Catalans Dragons
29 Sam Tomkins – 8
2 Tom Davies – 7
18 Matthieu Laguerre – 6
4 Dean Whare – 6
5 Fouad Yaha – 8
20 Tyrone May – 8
7 Josh Drinkwater – 8
16 Paul Seguier – 7
14 Alrix Da Costa – 7
22 Dylan Napa – 7
11 Matthew Whitley – 8
27 Joe Chan – 7
13 Ben Garcia – 8
Substitutes
8 Gil Dudson – 7
17 Mickael Goudemand – 7
3 Samisoni Langi – 7
25 Cesar Rouge – 7

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