Wakefield Trinity 18 Toulouse 6: Trinity end long wait for Super League win

WAKEFIELD TRINITY finally got their season up and running, at the fifth attempt, with a precious, if unspectacular, 18-6 win over visitors Toulouse Olympique last night.

By Peter Smith
Saturday, 12th March 2022, 7:06 am

Played in driving rain, it was a dour encounter, punctuated by regular errors from both teams.

Territorially, Toulouse had the better of the opening 40 minutes, but eight points in four minutes either side of the break swung the game Wakefield’s way, leaving the French side as the only team in Betfred Super League yet to win this season.

Some Wakefield fans weren’t happy with their side’s less than flamboyant style of play, but that was a reflection of both the conditions and the fact they were lacking their regular stand-off, Jacob Miller, because of concussion.

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Corey Hall celebrates his try. Pictures: Bruce Rollinson

More importantly, Trinity got the job done without any serious dramas. Liam Hood, back at hooker after a shoulder injury, opened the scoring for Trinity on 13 minutes, with a simple dummy and dart from acting-half close to the line, for a try which Brad Walker improved.

But, in the sort of incident which has coaches tearing their hair out, the restart bounced into touch and in the next set Toulouse moved the ball right for Guy Armitage to go over for what proved to be their only try.

That was unconverted, but Trinity conceded back-to-back penalties early in the second quarter, the first when they were in possession close to Toulouse’s line and Chris Hankinson kicked the second to level the scores.

Eloi Pelessier was very close to adding a second try for the visitors, being pulled down just short of the line, but the French side weren’t able to take advantage of the opportunities Trinity continually handed them, through errors and penalties.

Tom Johnstone throws the ball back in for Corey Hall to score Wakefield's third try. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Some of that was due to solid defence, but largely it was because Olympique weren’t very good on attack. Wakefield – who included French full-back Morgan Escare at the start of his second loan spell with the club – became bogged down in their own end for a long spell, but did manage to retake the lead with the final action of the opening period.

Mason Lino kicked across field to Tom Johnstone, who made a strong run before passing to Eddie Battye.

He was pulled down just short, but referee Tom Grant had spotted a high tackle and Walker took the two to open an 8-6 interval lead.

Wakefield struck again immediately after the restart through a powerful finish from close-range by Kelepi Tanginoa, after Toulouse had made an error in their first set of the half.

Liam Hood scores Wakefield's opening try. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Walker’s goal put two scores between the teams and Wakefield weren’t seriously troubled after that, though they didn’t make the game safe until eight minutes from time when Corey Hall, who was impressive in the left-centre, got over at the corner to complete the scoring.

Wakefield coach Willie Poching said: “To come away with the win was important, it feels pretty good. I am really happy for the boys.”

He admitted: “I thought it was a nervy one, for various reasons.

“You could sense we were playing within ourselves and conditions played a part in that.

“There were too many penalties and errors in the first half and their response to that in the second was tremendous.”

Toulouse coach Sylvain Houles, a former Wakefield player, said: “I thought we were in the game in the first half, but it was a very poor second half.

“I can’t blame the effort, the boys defended hard, but we did not have any territory in the second half.

“Credit to Wakefield, they played very well in the second half, very composed.”

Wakefield: Escare, Kay, Lyne, Hall, Johnstone, Walker, Lino, Fifita, Hood, Arona, Ashurst, Pitts, Batchelor. Substitutes: Battye, Tanginoa, Whitbread, Bowes.

Toulouse: Ashall-Bott, Marcon, Armitage, Hankinson, Russell, Gigot, Albert, Bretherton, Pelissier, Hansen, Stefani, Dixon, Marion. Substitutes: Peyroux, Puech, Sangare, Robson.

Referee: Tom Grant (Leeds).