Wakefield Trinity vs Toulouse Olympique: Team news, match preview and score prediction

The bottom two teams meet at Belle Vue on Friday in a crucial Super League clash as Wakefield and Toulouse search for their first win of the season.

Trinity had been competitive in their opening three games but were put to the sword in the first half last week by Leeds, raising early-season alarm bells for Willie Poching’s side.

It was the opposite for Toulouse who, after struggling to compete in their first three games, took Wigan to the wire in southwestern France only to go down to a last-minute Harry Smith drop goal.

Team News

Wakefield welcome back Liam Hood, Corey Hall and Reece Lyne in a much-needed boost for boss Poching, with the balance of the side likely to improve from the one that looked so disjointed in the first half last Thursday. Morgan Escare returned to Trinity this week on a two-week loan and he will go straight into the team to replace the suspended Max Jowitt at fullback.

Toulouse will go with a similar team to the one that almost pulled off a major shock against Wigan. They remain without Latrell Schaumkel, Mathieu Jussaume, Gadwin Springer and James Cunningham, but head coach Sylvain Houles will be confident of picking up the club’s first ever Super League win if they replicate their showing from last Saturday.

Match Preview – Key battles:

Morgan Escare vs Olly Ashall-Bott: Back in West Yorkshire for another stint, Esacre will look to remind the Wakefield fans what he is capable of against a number of his fellow countrymen. The fact Escare has become available perhaps suggests Toulouse had a chance to bring him in when they were looking for a new no.1, but they opted for ex-Widnes and Huddersfield man Ashall-Bott. With that in mind it will be interesting to see how they matchup against each other come Friday night.

Mason Lino vs Tony Gigot: Samoan international Lino has yet to come alive this season after a stuttering start, but if ever Trinity supporters wanted to see the best of him then this is the game. He will come up against ex-Wakefield man Gigot who is adapting well to the halfback role. If Toulouse want to stay up this season then they need Gigot to recapture the form that saw him win the Lance Todd Trophy in 2018.

Where the game will be won and lost:

There is no getting away from the importance of this game. It might be early in the season but the loser of this will likely become favourites for relegation. Many had Toulouse down as relegation certainties before last weekend, especially given that Wakefield were unlucky to lose two of their opening three games, but last week changed all that. The French outfit will have gained a lot of confidence from their showing against Wigan and will have less pressure on them here, with the onus on Trinity to go out and get their first win in front of an expectant fan base. It’s going to be tight, tense and a little nervy, but Poching’s side should just about edge it.

Score prediction: Wakefield Trinity 18-16 Toulouse Olympique

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