Toulouse Olympique 14-28 St Helens: Highlights and match report

They say fool me once shame on you fool me twice then shame on me, and that would have been going through the minds of the Champions as they journeyed over to Toulouse a second time hoping to avoid another shock defeat.

That they did with a controlled if not totally dominant display in France.

Highlights:

Pleasure to see Regan grace the field again
Regan Grace is back and showed why he’s highly thought off in both codes of rugby with Kristian Woolf saying earlier this week that he expects a decision to be made on his future in the coming weeks. It’s hope he stays in Super League if he continues playing like this with elusive runs aplenty including two which led to tries and of course there was the small matter of his own try which came in the second half to kill the game off with a lovely interception.

Saints’ new look spine
Will Hopoate justified Woolf’s decision to name him at fullback today with a lovely pass to create Tommy Makinson’s try. Perhaps this is the way to go for the rest of the season for the Champions thanks to Hopoate’s brilliant skillset.

Match Report:

The last time St Helens went to Toulouse, they found themselves in a too and fro first half which set the tempo for their shock defeat.

Today, despite doing behind early to a Chris Hankinson penalty, the Champions made sure to get a foothold in the game within the first half something they struggled to do last time.

Saints took the lead within the first 10 minutes and just two minutes after Hankinson’s penalty through Morgan Knowles. This time playing at 13 unlike when he was forced to play out of position in defeat to Toulouse earlier this season, he powered over after a good run from the returning Regan Grace despite the challenge of Olly Ashall-Bott to make it 4-2.

The Saints then doubled their money as Tommy Makinson scored thanks to a lovely pass from Will Hopoate operating at fullback as coach Kristian Woolf seemingly settles on a spine of Jonny Lomax, Jack Welsby and Hopoate for the rest of the campaign in Lewis Dodd’s absence.

Makinson was unable to convert his own try but the Saints still led 8-2 and by the break they had a 12-point lead thanks to a try from Konrad Hurrell. Again, the try originated with the elusive Grace who broke after claiming a high kick. From the next play, Hurrell burst clear to go the distance and score with Makinson’s conversion making it 14-2 at the interval.

Frustratingly for the Champions, Toulouse gave themselves a route back into the game with a try from Harrison Hansen as he cut through the Saints usually stern defence. Hankinson trimmed the lead down to six with the goal.

Toulouse then began turning the screw with the Saints relying on captain fantastic James Roby to pounce on a loose ball to deny the French side a second try in quick succession. Roby was involved at the other end shortly after seemingly helping create a second try for Hurrell but the four-pointer was denied due to the last pass being deemed forward.

However, they didn’t have to wait much longer to cross for a decisive fourth try. It came from Jack Welsby at scrum half slicing through down to score and help restore the Champions’ 12-point cushion.

Then the game breaker as Grace crowned his come back with an intercept try to make it 26-8.

However, Toulouse weren’t going to die wondering and a try and a goal from Chris Hankinson gave them a faint whiff of a fight back which Saints looked to kill off with a penalty which Makinson put wide but when a similar chance came his way right at the end of the game after a great run from James Bell, he didn’t miss a second time wrapping up the win 28-14.

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