Those in France today saw rugby league history. Toulouse, who went into the club bottom of the league and winless, shocked the unbeaten Champions in a superb contest to claim their first Super League win ever.
Just last week people were suggesting the Saints, who are pursuing a fourth consecutive title, could go the season unbeaten, but now they like the rest of the league have suffered defeat in 2022 opening up the early race for top spot. As for Toulouse, they’re now level on points with the likes of Leeds and Castleford, two teams tipped for play-off rugby in 2022.
Dominique Peyroux heroics
Not only did Dominique Peyroux come up with a vital try in the first half grounding a delicate grubber to put Toulouse back in front at 12-8, but he also conjured up a vital tackle early in the game to stop St Helens from gaining momentum. Against his former club he continually lifted his current side stopping them from generating momentum.
Neat Norman try
On a disappointing day for the previously unbeaten Champions there was a rare appearance for Dan Norman who made his first Saints appearance of the season. In the loss, he made a real impression scoring Saints’ fourth try of the game off the back of neat play from James Roby and Jake Wingfield.
Match winner Macron
In the dying minutes of the game, Paul Macron took a lovely cut out ball to dive in at the corner to give Toulouse a shock 22-20 lead with just minutes left on the clock.
Going into today’s game with bottom club Toulouse, St Helens had conceded just 28 points all season but that tally became 34 just minutes into the game in France.
Expected to easily continue their winning run at the expense of Toulouse today who were still winless, the Champions were caught cold by a quick start from Toulouse.
From the kick-off, Toulouse got the ball back and were able to cross through former Warrington winger Matty Russell who dived in at the corner to give Toulouse a 4-0 lead.
Shortly after, Chris Hankinson added the extras to take the score out to 6-0 in one of the most surprising starts to a game you’re likely to see with the Champions caught cold by the league’s bottom club.
Adding further punishment to the Saints, Dominique Peyroux, a Grand Final winner with St Helens, then produced some outstanding defence to force the Champions into an uncharacteristic error.
Saints then got back into the game following a cut out pass from Jonny Lomax to Tommy Makinson with Makinson crossing for his eighth try of the season. He was unable to convert his own try leaving the Saints behind on the scoreboard at 6-4.
The Saints then took the lead through Josh Simm as he continued his fine form to start the season. However, another missed conversion allowed Dominique Peyroux’s try to give Toulouse the lead again at 10-8 scoring from a grubber kick.
Chris Hankinson then made it 12-8 as Toulouse continue to shock the Champions. However, despite such a resilient and gutsy start from the French side, they found themselves behind at the break with Jack Welsby capitalising on a well worked break from Mark Percival and Tommy Makinson with Lewis Dodd’s conversion making it 14-12 to the visitors.
The start of the second half wasn’t as explosive as the first. St Helens began to build some dominance and gave themselves a two score lead for the first time in the game. Lifted by James Roby’s introduction, the Saints scored thanks to a move started by the skipper and involving two others subs as Jake Wingfield set up Dan Norman for a first try of the season in his first appearance for St Helens in 2022.
It seemed that would kill off Toulouse, but when Tommy Makinson had a try disallowed for a forward pass – the second time Saints had a score chalked off by James Child for a forward looking ball – Toulouse bounced back with Lucas Albert setting up Chris Hankinson for a try with the centre converting.
Then, the unthinkable: Paul Macron dived over from a cut out pass to give Toulouse the lead with minutes remaining. Hankinson didn’t add the extras this time but the try was enough to give Toulouse a shock 22-20 win claiming potentially the biggest shock victory in Super League histroy.
Teams and Scorers
Toulouse Olympique: Olly Ashall-Bott, Matty Russell, Chris Hankinson, Guy Armitage, Paul Macron, Tony Gigot, Lucas Albert, Joe Bretherton, Anthony Marion, Justin Sangare, Andrew Dixon, Dominique Peyroux, Maxime Puech
Substitutes: Eloi Pelissier, Harrison Hansen, Mitch Garbutt, Joseph Paulo
Tries: Russell, Peyroux, Hankinson, Macron Goals Hankinson 3/4
St Helens: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Konrad Hurrell, Mark Percival, Josh Simm, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Matty Lees, Joey Lussick, Agnatius Paasi, Curtis Sironen, Morgan Knowles, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook
Substitutes: James Roby, Kyle Amor, Jake Wingfield, Dan Norman
Tries: Makinson, Simm, Welsby, Norman Goals: Dodd 2/2, Makinson 0/2