Toulouse Olympique XIII v Rochdale Hornets
Saturday 16th February 2019, 15:30pm
Championship - Round: 3
Stats over last 8 encounters
IT was a frustrating afternoon at Stade Ernest Argeles for Carl Forster and his young squad that travelled to South West France for a round four Championship clash with Toulouse Olympique.
The French side had spent the week training with Sydney Roosters as the NRL Premiers prepare for their World Club Challenge match at the DW Stadium on Sunday night.
Hornets, on the other hand, prepared for the game by taking in the sights and sounds of Amsterdam Schiphol airport on Friday as the club were unable to fly direct to Toulouse.
Hornets started the brighter of the two sides having the lion’s share of possession in the opening 20 minutes.
Youngster, Brandon Wood opened the scoring as he linked up with Wales international Elliott Jenkins on the left flank to touch down a bobbling kick in goal.
Hornets looked to extend their lead further spending a lot of time in the Olympique final third before a Toulouse side that were growing frustrated with a number of handling errors and penalties finally engaged as they shipped the ball wide for Gavin Marguerite to slide in at the flag.
TO came to life thereafter with two quick-fire scores. The first an audacious attempt at keeping the ball alive on the last benefitted Jonathan Ford who slumped over from close range before a trademark Toulouse move up the guts split the Hornets defence with Stan Robin galloping under the black dot. The evergreen Mark Kheirallah notched two conversions before scoring himself on the hooter as he ghosted in on the flank to bring it up to 22-6 at the half way mark.
Olympique started the second half as they ended the first – a blockbusting Gavin Marguerite break up the edge extended the Olympique lead from the kick off before former Leigh Centurion, Ilias Bergal muscled in at the flag.
In a repeat of last week’s home meeting with Toronto Wolfpack – Hornets had been stung in the 10-12 minute period either side of the half time break.
It took a while for Hornets to find their feet in the second half, but it was Sitaleki Akauola who found space in the middle to bust through the TO line and stretch out to score.
As Hornets continued to pile pressure on the home side with three back to back goal line dropouts the ball was cannoned wide for Stan Robin to snatch the pass out of thin air and race away for a glorious intercept try.
William Barthau rounded off the scoring on 70 minutes as he found space at the corner to barge over and extend the lead.
In a game that had very few Hornets errors – it was the penalty count that killed them. Toulouse as ruthless as ever when gifted field position.
Kheirallah, Bergal, Marguerite, Ader, Maurel, Ford, Robin, Marion, Curran, Mika, Parata, Boyer, Bretherton, Barthau, Evans, Hepi, Sangare.
Tries: Marguerite (2), Ford, Robin (2), Kheirallah, Bergal, Barthau.
Goals: Kheirallah (4)
Abram, Ainscough, Gillam, Case, B. Wood, Whittaker, Jenkins, Moran, Davis, Akauola, Weldon, Mitchell, Millington, Forster, Gregory, C. Wood, Johnson
Tries: B. Wood, Akauola
Goals: Abram (2)