Former Super League Champion Dominique Peyroux is hoping to inspire Toulouse to success in 2022 and Super League survival, but after a turbulent pre-season the French side’s task has been made tougher.
It started with rumours that star fullback Mark Khierallah was prepared to leave due to the hard stance adopted by the French government with regards to the vaccine. Then the club confirmed the departure of skipper Jonathan Ford after 10 years at the club in a major blow to their hopes of Super League survival.
When speaking to the press ahead of the start of Super League, Peyroux acknowledged the difficulties presented by the vaccine and Ford’s subsequent departure whilst also seemingly confirming that Khierallah would be following Ford out the door after weeks of rumours.
“It’s been tough,” Peyroux said, “Jonathan Ford has been massive for the team for the last 10 years and Mark Khierallah as well, they’ve helped the club get to where it is today.
“Unfortunately it’s come to this, and it’s such a shame for it finish the way it has. You can’t force someone to do something against their beliefs, so good on them for standing up for what they believe in but I’m sure we’ll be alright as a team.”
The former St Helens backrow was keen to stress that the club is prepared to move on with new leaders taking on the reins now that the skipper and vice-captain have left: “They’re definitely a loss and it’s hard to fill those boots. We’ve got a good leadership team, good leaders and good players and hopefully we can move forward. They’ve done a lot for the club, for it come to this is a shame for everyone but nevertheless we move on.”
It remains to be seen whether or not the club will dip into the transfer market with a squad size of just 24 now that both Ford and seemingly Khierallah have left the club. Nonetheless, it seems Peyroux believes in the squad the club has and the togetherness in the team.
He even noted how the departures have contributed to the underdog mentality at the club leading to a greater hunger: “We look at ourselves as underdogs and that builds the hunger as a team. We want to do well, it’s that hunger which will get us through.”