Toulouse Olympique coach Sylvain Houles (pictured0 had barely recovered from the celebrations of promotion to Super League before he was back to business securing his squad for 2022.
New deals for centre Mathieu Jussaume, stand-off Tony Gigot and giant prop Justin Sangare were all concluded last week as Houles consolidates his current successful squad and prepares to bring in three more “top level” signings.
The retirement from playing of Rémi Casty and departures of wingers Jy Hitchcox (Leigh) and Bastien Ader (Limoux) have left three holes in Houles’ squad but they will be filled very soon according to club President Bernard Sarrazain.
He told League Express: “We are working very hard with Sylvain to strengthen the squad for Super League and we are delighted to have retained three very important players over the past few days.
“We have always said that we will not be going into Super League just to cling on to survival, that is not the style of this club.
“Our success has been built upon ambition and achievement, and that is the attitude we will take into Super League.
“We realise we will have to strengthen if we are going to be successful at the top level and we are working very hard behind the scenes to bring in the correct players.”
The TO chairman added, “But before any new arrivals it was crucial to keep hold of our current players. Having someone like Tony (Gigot) in our ranks is a privilege, his experience and multiple qualities make him a key player in the team and I am absolutely delighted that he is staying with us in Super League.
“Tony is very experienced and we will need that in Super League, while at the other end of the scale it was so important that we kept Justin (Sangare) in the squad for next year.
“He is a child of the club having come through the ranks and we are all very proud of him, especially this season where he has risen to international standard, scoring that excellent try against England in Perpignan last week.
“I am very happy to see him continue with us and I am convinced that we have not yet seen his full potential.
“It is so important for the future growth of this club that we keep our home-grown players like Justin and Mathieu (Jussaume) who is our leading scorer and has been an exceptional product of our training centre.
“His decision to stay shows his attachment to the club after such an extraordinary season.”
Toulouse have also extended the current contract of former player Adam Innes, who is now on the coaching staff as Performance Manager, by a further two years.
He said, “I can’t wait to taste Super League both personally and collectively in order to build this new adventure in the long term.”
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