Magic Preview: Don't stop believing

3 Jul 2022

Magic Preview: Don't stop believing

Toulouse refuse to give up on Super League survival

 

Tony Gigot knows a thing or two about rugby league fairytales, and he hasn’t finished writing them yet.

The French international was the Lance Todd Trophy winner as man of the match when Catalans Dragons became the first club from overseas to win the Challenge Cup against Warrington in 2018.

But the task in front of him and his Toulouse Olympique team-mates between now and the end of the season is arguably even more demanding.

Sylvain Houles’ side are looking to claw their way off the foot of the Betfred Super League table after a series of narrow defeats cast them adrift at the bottom - but Gigot insists they haven’t stopped believing yet.

“Of course we have belief, that is the beauty of sport,” Gigot explained.

“There have been some beautiful stories written before that we will always talk about in the future.

“We will fight until the end this season because that is our job.

“It’s been tough this year - we know we’ve done some great work but we’ve missed opportunities to win more game.

“The team is still learning and Super League is very tough, but we feel we are improving week-in, week-out.

“It’s hard when you come so close and don’t have the result you want in the end, but we’re still working hard and we all want to stay in Super League.

“Hopefully we can pick up more wins in the last part of the season.”

On a personal level, after brief spells at Toronto, Wakefield and Avignon, Gigot himself has relished the chance to compete at Super League level again.

“I’ve really enjoyed testing myself with another squad and another team,” he said.

“Although it’s been hard I’ve enjoyed it and try and give my best for the team every week. I want to be as good as possible to help the team to stay in Super League.

“Playing under Sylvain has been good - he has a different style of coaching and I’m still learning after only meeting him midway through last season.

“I’ve enjoyed working with new coaches and staff and I hope to pay him back now.”

Gigot is also under no illusions about the significance of this weekend’s clash with Wakefield Trinity, with the teams having won one match each in the meetings so far this season.

The playmaker added: “We know how important this game is, although every game is important for us now.

“We want to play the best we possibly can and see where we are at the end of 80 minutes.

“I really love Magic Weekend and have good memories of Newcastle - the stadium, the city and the fans all around.

“It’s a very beautiful moment for all Super League players and fans, and I’m very happy to be back and getting the chance to play there for another team.”


Player in Form - Olly Ashall-Bott

 

Coach Sylvain Houles has brought a number of players in since the start of the Betfred Super League season, and full-back Ashall-Bott has made a significant impact.

The former Widnes, London and Huddersfield player has had to battle against a number of injuries in his fledgling career, but has finally secured a consistent run at first team level.

That has seen his incisive contributions from the back become a key feature of Toulouse’s attack, and his pace makes him a danger from anywhere on the field.

 

One to Watch - Justin Sangaré

 

A product of Toulouse’s prolific academy system, Sangaré has found himself in the headlines of late having been linked with a move to Leeds for 2023.

For now, he has a relegation battle to focus on in France, where he has caught the eye as an all-action front rower who knows where the try-line is.

Born in Mali, Sangaré is expected to be part of France’s World Cup squad later this year and will be hoping to finish this season on a high.

This article is taken from the Magic Weekend programme, copies of which can be ordered online via Curtis Sports