Toulouse getting promoted to Super League is potentially huge for the French game and for European Rugby League in general. Several years ago the general opinion of observers was that Rugby League in Toulouse was in a rut and was heading in the direction of how Rugby League ended up in several other big French cities. The presence of RL in places like Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille has mostly dwindled and in some cases evaporated completely, the fear was that Rugby League in Toulouse would end up the same way.
Now with Toulouse promoted the outlook is much more positive, I think their promotion is an opportunity to get more people participating in RL at grass roots level across France, but specifically in the Haute-Garonne region. And when I mean participation I don't just mean mens players, but the sport in all its forms, womens game, PDRL, youth, tag, referees, coaches, volunteers.
Due to the effect Catalan Dragons had in Perpignan and the surrounding areas, RL has been much more stronger there than in most other centres and the aim of Toulouse has to be to rebalance that power dynamic.
TO need to think about how they can maximise the opportunities from being in SL and getting the exposure that comes with it to get more players playing in Toulouse, Haute Garonne and south west areas. How can they reinvigorate amateur clubs and increase the number of them, how can they get better players into their youth and reserves teams.
At the moment they are not producing anywhere near the same number of players as Catalan Dragons and the Toulouse Broncos reserve team have not performed well in the Elite for some time. They have recently linked up with clubs like Ramonville with a view to extending the reach of their club and I'd like to see them do more of this, they need to expand their influence in Haute-Garonne and even the Tarn.
This is a really exciting time for French Rugby League and Toulouse, I'd love to hear from supporters in this part of France and get their views on how they see things panning out in the next few seasons.