TOULOUSE have confirmed, on their website, that the squad to come to Bower Fold on Sunday will be the same as the one which lost at Dewsbury Rams last weekend.
Star half-backs Jon Ford and Stan Robin, plus Kane Bentley, are still “in the infirmary”, as they put it, so coach Sylvain Houles is giving the players who lost 34-22 at the Tetley’s Stadium last Sunday a chance to redeem themselves.
Having been beaten 36-16 at home by London Broncos the week before, it was Olympique’s second defeat in a row.
They admit to being lucky that their hopes of finishing in the top four were not as badly affected as they might have been thanks to fifth-placed Halifax’s 13-12 defeat at Swinton.
Nevertheless, they regard their first-ever trip to Stalybridge as a ‘must win’ game, while accepting that Oldham will provide tough opposition at Bower Fold. It hasn’t gone unnoticed at Blagnac that three of Oldham’s four wins have been on home soil.
Their second-row forward Rhys Curran told the Olympique website: “It (Dewsbury defeat) was a very frustrating game for the whole team. We did not respect the game plan. We were not able to complete our chains (sets) and we made many balloons (mistakes).
“We defended well during the first 60 minutes but, by force, we cracked and Dewsbury took the opportunity to take the lead. They played well and probably deserved to win.
“The context of the match against Oldham resembles that of Dewsbury. Only one point separates those two teams at the bottom. Each victory is very important for them as they fight to stay in the Championship.
“We have to expect a complicated match again, but we have our top-four goal to reach and that’s why we have to win in Oldham and thus be ready to receive Halifax on July 8 in Blagnac.
“But we must not project ourselves in time. We must focus on Oldham and win this first match.
“It’s been a long time since we lost two in a row. I have never known that before. Seeing our guys disappointed was a good thing because it proved we are a group of competitors.
“The positive part of these setbacks is that it forces us to question ourselves and make us think about what we have done and what we could have done better.
“What is certain is that the team will have heart to do better this weekend. We’ll have to get back to basics, play our game, build well, and I’m sure if everybody does his job there should be no worries.”
Over to you, Roughyeds !
And don’t forget that under-16s go FREE to this game so long as they are accompanied by an adult — the first of a few initiatives that the club will be trying over the next few weeks in an effort to get more people backing the team.