Widnes Vikings too strong for Toulouse Olympique
Toulouse Olympique slumped to another defeat against potential Championship top five contenders as Widnes Vikings looked the better side in all departments on a heavy pitch at the Ernest Argelès.
Coach Sylvain Houles must be slightly worried that his side looked out of their depth in the second half as TO13 looked sluggish and less creative against a Vikings side inspired by the cultured ex Wigan favourite Anthony Gelling. Widnes, relegated from Super League last season with only four players in the 17 who last to Toulouse in the Middle 8s last october fully deserved their victory as they dished out a lesson to the french side looking low on confidence and bereft of ideas on the day.
Widnes opened the scoring in the opening minutes through hooker Liam Hood after a Mark Kheirallah fumble but TO13 new boy Dean Parata scored under the posts 8 minutes later. Stan Robin scored the first of his hat-trick on 18 minutes and Ed Chapelhow equalised another four minutes later following yet another crucial handling error from Kheirallah. Widnes looked the more likely but Robin added his second on the half-hour with a reply from man of the match Gelling expertly in the right corner five minutes before the break. Vikings kicker missed the conversion, the only one missed in the half to give the french a two-pont advantage at the break.
Widnes quickly restored parity four minutes in to the second half with a penalty from Owens and the lead was retaken shortly after following excellent work from impressive young fullback Ollie Ashall Bott which was finished off by scrum half Danny Craven. The Vikings extended their lead on 65 minutes after winger Ryan Ince ghosted past Paul Marcon after good passing from Gelling and Jordan Johnstone right side. Owens aded the extras with an excellent conversion from out wide. Toulouse looked weary and beaten and struggled to get to the pace of the game. The Vikings dominated the middle of the park tho’ they did let TO13 in on 75 minutes for a consolation try from Robin under the posts. Kheirallah made it four out of four but Gelling had the last laugh two minutes from the final hooter with his second try of the afternoon.
This was a poor performance from Toulouse after a decent first forty. Next up is Rochdale which has to be won but they won’t be doing the french any favours as new player-coach Carl Forster, ex Whitehaven will be doing his best to spoil the party.
TO 13 : Kheirallah, Maurel, Ader, Marguerite, Marcon, Robin, Ford, Vaivai, Parata, Boyer, Mika, Dezaria, Santi. Subs : Marion, Evans, Bretherton, Sangaré.
Tries : Parata (14), Robin (18,26,75) Goals : Kheirallah 4/4
Widnes : Ashall-Bott, Owens, Brand, Gelling, Ince, Craven, Lyons, Tangata, Hood, Hansen, Wilde, Dean, Leuluai . Subs : Chapelhow, Johnstone, Farnworth, Walker.
Tries : Hood (7), Chapelhow (22), Gelling (35,78), Craven (46), Ince (65). Goals : Owens 4/6, 2 pens
MOM – Anthony Gelling
Weather – Sunny 16°C
Match rating – 3/5
Referee – Scott Mikalauskas 88/100
Attendance – 2189