Sylvain Houles still searching for signings at Toulouse Olympique

Sylvain Houles is still looking for players to join his French foreign legion at Toulouse Olympique, although he won’t be tempted into recruitment just to make up the numbers.

The TO coach will have a 27-man squad for his first season in Super League.

Houles told League Express, “Ideally, we would have liked one or two more additions to the squad but we haven’t found the right players.

“With being promoted just a few weeks ago it has been difficult to find available players who are right for us.

“We’re still looking, but we will only make a move if and when we find the right player.”

Houles said he was happy with the playing group he has assembled and he is confident his team will be competitive in the top-flight next year.

He added, “There is a lot of confidence in this squad; I believe in these players and they do too.

“When you look at our squad, we have 21 players who are internationals, we have 19 who have played Super League.

“On top of that we have seven players who have won Super League or NRL, so we’re good and we’re ready for the challenge.”

The addition of two English players (hooker James Cunningham and centre Chris Hankinson) plus French prop Gadwin Springer has filled in for departing players, but Houles is determined to look closer to home and promote young French players when the time is right.

He said, “We’re going to have a look at a few of our reserves and juniors, we have some really good prospects but they are still a little raw and they wouldn’t be able to play Super League next year.

“We’ll try to bring these players in for training sessions with the first team to show them the levels they need to be at.

“I’m always looking for good French players, that is the future for this club; we need kids who are keen and understand what it will take to get to Super League level.”

Houles said promotion to the top flight had “lit the fires of ambition” of young players at the club.

He added, “We can sense it in our juniors and reserves, the mentality has changed since we were promoted.

“It’s all about giving opportunities to young kids and making sure they can dream high and achieve their goals.

“A second French team in Super League changes the landscape entirely, it’s not just a second route to the top, it is a serious career choice for young players.”

Toulouse will hold two pre-season fixtures, against a Presidents’ XIII from the French Championship (date to be arranged) and away to Catalans Dragons on January 30th.

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