Latest on Sylvain Houles’ future at Toulouse Olympique

Toulouse Olympique are still awaiting a decision from coach Sylvain Houles as to whether he will lead them in the 2023 Championship season.

The Olympians have a new contract on the table for the 41-year-old former French international and the club is keen to keep him at the helm as they plot a swift return to Super League at the end of next season.

Chief Executive Cedric Garcia told League Express: “Sylvain needed a big break; we’ve pretty much just been through two seasons non-stop. We only had three weeks between the end of our last season in the Championship and the start of pre-season for Super League.

“And those three weeks were hectic, with us expanding the coaching, performance and medical staff, trying to sign new players and moving our training camp so we’ve had pretty much two solid years in a row without a break.

“So we’ve given Sylvain a real break and once he returns, we will know his decision.

“Once again, our position is that Sylvain has our full support and confidence and we would really like him to be on board for next season.”

Houles is a sheep farmer from Realmont in the Tarn region and a decision on his immediate future is expected to be made early this week.

While he is on leave, Toulouse have been busy retaining and releasing players in preparation for their return to the second tier.

Several players have already left, including captain Tony Gigot, who was not selected by Houles for the final three games of the season because of his loss of form.

Winger Matty Russell, prop Romain Navarrete and Aussie halfback Corey Norman have also been released, while second-rower Andrew Dixon has been linked with a move to Salford Red Devils and French forward Maxime Puech has been signed by Albi.

In the other direction, fullback Olly Ashall-Bott is the latest player to re-sign at Stade Ernest Wallon after agreeing a new two-year deal. This follows contract extensions for Guy Armitage, Eloi Pelissier and Harrison Hansen.

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