Sylvain Houles on search for signings as Toulouse Olympique face early crisis

Toulouse Olympique’s turmoil is turning into a crisis after the newly-promoted French club crumbled to a 42-14 opening night defeat to Huddersfield Giants.

Coach Sylvain Houles is desperate to find new recruits to his dwindling squad following the loss of captain Johnathon Ford and absence of full-back Mark Kheirallah due to Covid vaccination issues, plus a groin injury to key playmaker Dominique Peyroux.

An early 10-0 lead at Stade Ernest Wallon on Saturday night was turned around by a powerful performance from the Giants with two tries from centre Jake Wardle and brilliant debuts from scrum-half Theo Fages and hooker Danny Levi.

Houles admitted his team was second-best in their first Super League game.

He said, “It was important that we had a good game today to help with the confidence of the squad and the club but after that first 25 minutes it all went wrong.

“Our indiscipline and bad timing cost us, we were constantly being caught offside and our kicking game wasn’t really on. Neither was our attack.

“We weren’t finding touch from penalties and making too many mistakes.

“Our discipline was really poor, I lost count of how many six-agains we conceded and our decision-making at the end of our sets was not good.

“We panicked at certain times and kicked straight into touch. You can’t have so many bad moments and wrong decisions at this level.

“We started really strong, we were at the right level in the first 25 minutes but after that we had to defend all of the time; we need to be cleverer than that.

“We need to sort it out very quickly because Super League has started now and the players need to learn what is required and improve massively.”

What is required immediately is new signings and fullbacks Jamie Shaul (Hull) and Morgan Escaré (Salford) are believed to be targets for Toulouse.

Houles added, “We already knew that we needed more players in the squad but I keep repeating that there are not many on the market, it’s as simple as that.”

Toulouse may need to recruit quickly with games against Salford, Warrington and Wigan on the immediate horizon.

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