Toronto Wolfpack bounced back from their Challenge Cup disappointment to defeat promotion rivals Toulouse Olympique 43-30 in the opening game of the Magic Weekend.
In perfect sunny conditions at St James’ Park, the Wolfpack thought they had scored in just the second minute when Liam Kay went over in the corner but dropped the ball.
But Kay was more successful three minutes later when Josh McCrone stripped the ball from Sebastian Planas and he broke to put Kay over. Ryan Brierley added the goal.
The Wolfpack went further ahead on 12 minutes with a debut try for Matty Russell and Brierley again converted.
Toulouse replied on 18 minutes when Mourad Kriouache went over from dummy half and Mark Kheirallah added the goal.
The Wolfpack extended their lead when Andrew Dixon went over, although this time Brierley couldn’t add the goal.
Toulouse scored with their second try by Antoni Marion two minutes before half-time after Johnathon Ford put him cleverly into a gap, with Kheirallah’s conversion reducing the gap to four points, although the kick appeared to go wide of the right post with both touch judges raising their flags.
The Wolfpack extended their lead when Kay lost the ball in the corner but he was awarded a try and Brierley added the goal. And Brierley scored the next try under the posts after smart play by Bob Beswick and Josh McCrone, while Kay added his hat-trick try on 53 minutes. Brierley missed the goal but Toronto now led 32-12.
But Toulouse weren’t finished and Charles Bouzinac burrowed his way over from dummy-half and Kheirallah’s goal reduced the gap to 14 points.
But Toronto weren’ finished and they added a try from Chase Stanley, a field-goal from Brierley and a try from Sam Hopkins, the latter converted.
But Toulouse ended the game with a flourish with late tries from Rhys Curran and Ford, with Kheirallah converting both for a 43-30 final score.
Toronto: 31 Gareth O’Brien, 5 Liam Kay, 3 Greg Worthington, 33 Chase Stanley, 30 Matty Russell, 6 Josh McCrone, 7 Ryan Brierley, 29 Jake Emmitt, 9 Bob Beswick, 10 Ashton Sims, 11 Andrew Dixon, 24 Cory Paterson, 28 Sam Hopkins; Subs: 15 Adam Sidlow, 17 Blake Wallace, 21 Olsi Krasniqi, 22 Richard Whiting
Tries: Kay 3, Russell, Dixon, Brierley Stanley, Hopkins; Goals: Brierley 5; Field Goal: Brierley
Toulouse: 1 Mark Kheirallah, 22 Chris Centrone, 3 Bastien Ader, 4 Gavin Marguerite, 21 James Worthington, 6 Johnathon Ford, 30 William Barthau, 8 Clement Boyer, 14 Mourad Kriouache, 15 Maxime Puech, 11 Sebastien Planas, 12 Rhys Curran, 13 Andrew Bentley; Subs: 9 Antoni Marion, 16 Tyla Hepi, 19 Charles Bouzinac, 23 Justin Sangare
Tries: Kriouache, Marion, Bouzinac, Curran, Ford; Goals: Kheirallah 5
A full match report from this match and all the Magic Weekend fixtures will feature in Monday’s League Express