Houles plays down importance on top four clash with London

Toulouse head coach Sylvain Houles insists their game with London is just as important as any other game as they prepare to take on the Broncos in France.

Houles’ men welcome London with huge ramifications hanging on the result. With four games remaining, Toulouse sit second, but are just two points ahead of Danny Ward’s side, who occupy fifth spot.

Defeat for Toulouse would see London leapfrog them due to a superior points difference, and they would end the weekend in fourth with one of Halifax or Featherstone overtaking them.

Victory, however, would move them four points clear of London with three games left, leaving them within touching distance of a top-four spot.

Despite that, Houles is adamant nothing has changed for the club moving into the match.

“It’s one important game, but not as big as all the others,” he said.

“We haven’t prepared that way. We’ve just prepared the same way as any other game. We didn’t change anything in terms of video or field sessions. It will be the same rugby, there will be occasions that may be bigger and the boys know we can put them four points behind us which will definitely help the results at the end of the season.

“If we can keep our destiny in our hands. We have the momentum with four games left and we’d prefer to have our destiny in our hands and if we can keep it this way.”

With five teams still fighting it out for three spots in the top four, the race to make the Qualifiers is as fierce as ever.

Even Leigh in sixth still have a fighting chance of making the top four, and although the race isn’t doing anything for heart rates, Houles believes it’s a testament to the competition.

“We knew it would be close at the start of the season,” he said.

“There are some great teams and the competition has gone a step better. There are six teams playing, Toronto are in front and will finish first but second to sixth is tight and all to play for but at the end of the day that’s what you want in a good competition, it’s not fun if with four or five weeks left you know who will make it. It’s a good advert for Rugby League and I think it’s fun.”

However, last year’s run-in was anything but fun for Toulouse as they surrendered second place and ended up dramatically collapsing and missing out altogether. Houles believes last year’s disappointment will help them reach the top four.

“Last year was a disappointment,” he said.

“But knowing where we’d come from I think it was good to be involved in that top four for so long. We learned a lot from it and it made us better I think. We learned quick and got some good motivation from it. Now we’re hoping those lessons learned will get us through this year.”