Houles confident but cautious about Toulouse’s chances

Toulouse Olympique coach Sylvain Houles has enjoyed his side’s League 1 campaign so far this season, and he is pleased with the way his team have played.

But that does not mean that he is treating the second phase of the season with anything less than 100 per cent focus.

“We found League 1 to be serious rugby, especially as we feel that every player raises his game to face us,” said Houles.

“Weekend after weekend, we have become the team to beat and it looks like they are racing to be the first to knock TO over.

“Even teams that are not part of the Super 8, like Newcastle or North Wales Crusaders, caused us many problems on their pitch. We had had to be very serious to win.

“It’s an interesting type of rugby, since the average is six to eight mistakes per game.

“That’s a lower average than ours, we still make more mistakes than that.

“Next, the difference is because our opponents will simply try to complete their sets, they do not seek to create.

“For our part, we make more mistakes because we take more risks, we are able to score from anywhere on the field, and at any time.

“From memory, I think we scored no fewer than 15 tries on zero tackle, that is to say on our first ball.”

Houles knows that the second phase of the season will be as tough to negotiate as the first.

“We must approach this phase with wariness, because we have already met all the teams, some we have beaten quite heavily,” he added.

“I am happy because these days, Adam Innes and Christophe Toustou (assistant coaches) have identified new areas in which we can work in defence, especially on the last tackle.

“I liked what they showed me and what to we get to do, which can allow us to bring more control to our defence.

“These are details that will be needed in the second phase, and at the upper level.

“We will continue to be commited, to give a lot of information to players as they are still deeply involved, constantly look at performance, improve. We must continue working.”

 But Houles is also confident that his team can lift themselves to the next level and win promotion to the Championship.

“Of course, we are confident for the title and promotion, we must be confident, we all believe,” he said.

“Confident but cautious. We must continue this momentum by taking every game week by week like we did until now to make sure we get the results.

“We must also play these games and win, nothing has been done.

“We must do all we can on our side to get there and it requires good training, good preparation.

“It also requires that week of rest we have given that will allow everyone to recharge the batteries and come back fully commited to the project.

“Now, we have seven games left, and we are hoping to finish in one of the first two places in the ranking, so we have between eight and nie weeks of work during which we will be fully commited.”

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