Written by Daniel Church
Toulouse make history against the champions! Despite Toulouse losing their opening 5 games, and St Helens winning their last 5, Toulouse Olympique came out 22-20 victors’ courtesy of a 78th minute try from Marcon.
Tony Gigot made the difference with an excellent kicking game today, maybe something Saints weren’t expecting? As if they were too confident going into the game.
After Toulouse kicked short off kick off retaining the ball, the ran at the St Helens defence and after just two minutes, the three in a row champions found themselves 6-0 down for the first time this campaign.
Stunned at the fact they were 6-0 down once Saints retrieved the ball, they did what they do best, fast passing plays. A defence-cutting pass from Lomax to Makinson saw him get over the line for his 8th try of the season. He, unfortunately, failed to convert his own kick, and Saints remained 6-4 down.
The well-oiled Saints everyone knows carried on in fine form, with Welsby’s pass finding Josh Simm who dove over putting the champions 8-6 ahead, Makinson having a tough time Infront of the sticks missed again.
INCROYABLE. C'est le mot.
📷 Manuel BONDEAU
— TO XIII (@TOXIII) March 19, 2022
An excellent kick off once again from Toulouse, going short, Sironen let the ball bounce, which we all know the adage, “never let a rugby ball bounce” and it went into touch. Toulouse were in the perfect position and an outstanding grubber through to Peyroux saw Toulouse go ahead once again, Hankinson adding the extras.
The next few sets from Saints showed their attacking class, kicking well and breaking the line. However, when Toulouse re-claimed the ball, an un-characteristic sloppy defence saw Ashall-Bolt break the line. But the attack was cut short with a forward pass.
Percivals line break allowed him to get the ball to Makinson, who flicked it back on the inside to Welsby who went over the line, this was the Saints everyone wants to watch, Dodd took over the kicking duties and added the extras.
Saints did score again 5 minutes from half time but the descision was overturned as Makinson was judged to have made the tackle in the air. Half time 12-14.
Tony Gigot forced a kick deep to Makinson at the start of the second half, sparking a great attacking chance for Saints, Sironen knocked on through and Toulouse breathe a sigh of relief.
Ashall-Bolt broke the line once again, this time an almost certain try was going to be scored, until Welsby caught up and saved the Saints blushes. St Helens then broke the line, Roby played a defence cutter to Wingfield who then played the ball to Dan Norman scoring his first try for the Saints. Dodd adding the extras, keeping his 100% record in front of the posts. This is much more like St. Helens. 12-20.
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) March 19, 2022
Poor discipline from Toulouse forced back-to-back sets for Saints. A perfect chance to extend their lead late in the game, but Roby’s attempt came up short. Makinson did go over the line in the corner, but Roby’s pass was forward. With 15 minutes to go the visitors were still 8 points ahead.
Gigot played an outstanding kick once again and Simm who retrieved it was forced into touch, Saints were forced to defend an attacking set, which they ultimately saw Hankinson get over the line which he converted himself. 18-20
Toulouse chasing down Saint Helens for the ball with 5 minutes to go, but a high tackle put a dent in their plans to win the game. However, after the turnover Saints were penalised for a high shot, Toulouse kicked long and Saints had to defend back-to-back sets on their own line with just minutes to go, as an offside was called.
Toulouse on the verge of history here as Marcon crashes over in the corner in the 78th minute! 22-20, the extras were missed but it was too late for St Helens, as the hooter went.
Toulouse Olympique 22
St Helens 20
Toulouse Olympique: Ashall-Bott, Russell, Hankinson, Armitage, Marcon, Gigot, Albert, Bretherton, Marion, Sangare, Dixon, Peyroux, Puech
Interchanges: Pelissier, Hansen, Garbutt, Paulo
Tries: Russell (‘2), Peyroux (’20), Hankinson (’68), Marcon (’78)
Goals: Hankinson (3/4)
St. Helens: Welsby, Simm, Hurrell, Percival, Makinson, Lomax, Dodd, Lees, Lussick, Paasi, Sironen, Knowles, McCarthy-Scarsbrook
Interchanges: Roby, Amor, Wingfield, Norman
Tries: Makinson (’11), Simm (’17), Welsby (’34), Norman (’54)
Goals: Makinson (0/2) Dodd (2/2)
Referee: James Child