“Super League needs to know what it wants” Sylvain Houles frustrated after Toulouse suffer relegation

Toulouse Olympique relegated Sylvain Houles SWpix
Photo: Paul Currie/SWpix

Toulouse coach Sylvain Houles has called on Super League to clarify what it wants after being left frustrated that his side were relegated after one season.

The French club were relegated to the Championship following a 24-14 defeat to neighbours Catalans Dragons at the Stade Ernest Wallon.

Speaking after their relegation was confirmed, Houles said: “It’s very sad that it has just last for one season.

“We’re so disappointed and frustrated but I guess we were not good enough.

“We have to take a good hard look at ourselves and see where we need to improve.

“At the same time I think Super League needs to know what it wants, what its vision is, do we want to expand?

“We’ve had a lot of adversity and a few unfair calls. We have to learn from that and put some positivity into it.

“We’ve spent an awful lot of money to reach Super League. It will take an awful lot more to return but we need to know whether they just want an English competition or a genuine European Super League.

“We are a strong club and we will rebuild but we need to know if it is going to be worth it in the end or are we throwing lots of money, time and effort down the drain?

“The club will survive but for me it’s a bigger picture, a bigger question. What do we want with rugby league in Europe. This club needs to know if it is fighting a losing battle?”

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Dragons coach Steve McaNamara has always insisted that Toulouse add a lot to Super League; and has backed them to come back stronger.

He said: “It’s a real shame they have gone down. They have invested heavily and they have the beginnings of a great product.

“It’s been difficult for them because as Catalans we had an exemption for the first few years; and we needed that.

“They could add a lot to Super League and hopefully this club will bounce back stronger than ever.”

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About Drew Darbyshire 8318 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.


  1. Wash, wah, wah! Have been waiting for this. Why can’t we have the same as Catalans? No one offered my club a handout. No one said we can have as many highly paid Aussies and a squillion years exemption etc etc.
    So, if ya don’t like it, tough. If ya don’t want to compete on a level playing field, tough.
    Go bother someone who might feel sorry.
    At least it seems you’ve been spared the horrendous ordeal of the so called million pound game.
    You’re relegated. Get over it and rebuild like others have had to.

  2. The problem is that Toulouse haven’t been competing on a level playing field. By the time they discovered that they were eligible to go up all of the best players had already been signed. Players are also less likely to join a club which is highly likely to go straight back down again, they want more than a one year contract. They also don’t have the benefit of the years of the millions of pounds that the other clubs have benefitted from. Sylvain Houles is also correct in that Super League do need to workout exactly what they’re trying to achieve, if anything. If they simply want the same 12 clubs sharing the pot between them forever, then don’t bother with relegation. But then don’t ever expect to be able to move on, develop and become a worldwide game. Surely something must be wrong when you consider all the money that is floating around in Rugby Union. You also can’t turn the telly on without there being a Rugby Union match on the screen, and unlike rugby league, you’re continuously being bombarded on the radio with rugby union scores of teams you’ve never heard of and don’t give a damn about.

  3. This is a complicated issue? The teams in the championship know that relegation and promotion is the system at the moment so don’t winge! Is it right to have promotion and relegation? Should we have one super league of 14 with no up and down. Or should we have up and down with protection of one season for the promoted team? This is a very old argument. And let’s be honest most of the super league teams are all bank rolled by someone who is very wealthy? Which then brings us back to should we revert to the old system of licensing? We need someone to come up with a new fresh idea. Personally I think to expand the game France needs its own super league? Any bright ideas out there?

  4. No club being promoted to SL has much chance of survival without having 2 or 3 year exemption from relegation, to enable long term development. The game is not big enough nationally to expand much outside the M62 corridor. Internationally the game is lost as in the UK we fill teams with players ineligible for England/GB for the sake of instant success. Don’t try to compare with Union, healthy leagues, strong European competition, and worldwide international teams, even the game that’s being promoted in SL is Championship standard when compared to the NRL.
    Leadership with vision is required to push the game forward if it is to grow, I don’t see that happening in my lifetime, people are not interested in change unfortunately.

  5. Correct. In the absence of a strategic plan, at least let clubs compete on a level playing field of Darwinian selection. It is non-sensical to hamstring promoted clubs and prop-up with TV money clubs that are not viable fulltime outfits without it.

    Two French clubs in Super League seems like a no brainer if you want to grow and promote the sport to a wider audience.

  6. I’d have more sympathy if they took more fans to away matches but they don’t, they hardly supported the magic weekend but the RFL expect our fans to support home and away.

  7. All the fuss about France! France should form their own super league! Then the game will expand, it doesn’t work having a euro super league.

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