Toulouse Olympique relegated from the Super League


Toulouse Olympique’s Super League season comes to a premature end after a home loss to their French rivals, Catalan Dragons.

With two rounds remaining in the league it was confirmed last night that Toulouse would be relegated back to the Championship after just one year in European rugby league’s best competition. This comes following a 14-24 defeat to Catalan. The result leaves them six points behind Warrington with now just four points on offer.

Toulouse have had a bittersweet campaign and will leave disappointed after falling short in the last few games. However, having played in some thrillers, they will take some great memories away into the off-season and hope to come back stronger.

Although Toulouse have looked excellent at times and did have some expectation to achieve at the beginning of the year, it is of little surprise that they have gone straight back down given the nature of the task set to newly promoted teams to survive.

They started slowly this year losing their first five games. This was to be expected and many will have thought that they were in for a horrendous year. Until remarkably, they defeated the current champions, St. Helens, to announce their intentions to the league.

Unfortunately, they could never kick on from here, winning only one of their next 10 games. After 16 rounds they sat bottom of the table on four points after just two wins, delivering some brilliant performances and entertaining rugby but failing to get results.

The French outfit looked dead set for an immediate and woeful return to the Championship at the end of June.

However, they dug deep and won games on the bounce in July to reignite their season and give the Warrington and Wakefield fans some restless nights. They even drew level on points in the league with Wakefield on 10 points after round 19.

The gas tanks quickly ran out though as after the little resurgence, they have proceeded to lose their last six games in the most crucial period of the season when momentum is needed. The recent bad spell has seen Wakefield explode away from them and Warrington nudge the gap to an unassailable one, sealing what was always the most likely outcome.

Compared to the last promoted club, Toulouse put up a good fight and would well deserve another crack at the league. With two rounds still to go they have already posted a further six points to what the Leigh Centurions managed in 2021.

Now for the last four Super League campaigns, the newly promoted side has gone straight back down. Toronto Wolfpack withdrew from the competition in 2020 but were most likely heading in the same direction, given a very poor start to the season.

Leigh were completely overwhelmed in 2021 winning just two games all year, with the London Broncos in 2019 also being hauled back down. However, they did put up a brilliant fight but just fell short due to points difference.

Before 2018 there was a string of sides going up and straight back down as well, begging the question, does the system need to be changed to give these clubs more of a chance?

It is impossible at this point in time to give an answer, or any indication of what might happen to the league. But there has been suggestions that we may see promotion and relegation every two years instead of the current system.

This would be to allow promoted clubs an extra year, a buffer year where they cannot go down, meaning big financial benefits and greater experience to make the competition more fair. There would of course be positives and negatives to that, but would Toulouse take it right now? Of the course they would.


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