Toulouse Olympique will enter Super League for the first time ever in 2022.
Sylvain Houles’ side went the Championship season unbeaten in 2021. They beat Featherstone at the Stade Ernest Wallon in the Million Pound Game which saw them clinch promotion to the top flight.
Toulouse have made four signings ahead of their maiden season in Super League. They’ve brought in Chris Hankinson (Wigan), Matty Russell (Leigh), James Cunningham (Huddersfield) and Gadwin Springer (Villeneuve).
Three players won’t be part of their first team in 2022. Australian winger Jy Hitchcox has joined Leigh, whilst France international centre Bastien Ader left the club upon the expiry of his contract. Veteran prop Remi Casty retired from playing and joined the club’s backroom staff.
How Toulouse Olympique could line-up in 2022:
1 Mark Kheirallah
The 31-year-old has been at Toulouse for 10 seasons now and is a firm fan favourite. Kheirallah made a solitary appearance for Sydney Roosters before his move to France in 2012. He has won four caps for France and played in the 2017 World Cup.
2 Matty Russell
The Irvine-born winger has joined Toulouse Olympique for their maiden Super League season from relegated club Leigh. Russell has made more than 150 appearances for Wigan, Warrington, Toronto Wolfpack and Leigh. He has won 11 caps for Scotland, featuring in the 2013 and 2017 World Cups.
3 Chris Hankinson
Like Russell, Hankinson has linked up with Toulouse for their first ever season in the top flight. The goal-kicking centre has joined the French side from his hometown club Wigan. Hankinson has made almost 150 career appearances for Leigh, Swinton, Wigan and Toulouse.
4 Mathieu Jussaume
The Toulouse-born centre came through the entire junior system at his hometown club. The 22-year-old is seen as one of the brightest prospects in French rugby league. He has already won two caps for his country.
5 Paul Marcon
Marcon, who has won four caps for France, will be hoping to play in his first World Cup next autumn. Injuries haven’t been kind to the 26-year-old in recent times, but he is a prolific try scorer when fully fit.
6 Johnathon Ford
Ford has been one of the standout performers in the Championship for several years now, so his Super League chance is fully deserved. The 32-year-old has made more than 100 appearances for Toulouse since 2011. He has won seven caps for the Cook Islands and played in the 2013 World Cup.
7 Tony Gigot
Super League fans will be familiar with Gigot. The 30-year-old played almost 150 games for Catalans Dragons across two spells at the club and also enjoyed spells at London Broncos, Wakefield and Toronto Wolfpack. He has won 15 caps for France. Gigot made history in 2018 as he became the first Frenchman to win the Lance Todd Trophy as Catalans lifted the Challenge Cup.
8 Mitch Garbutt
The Australian prop moved to Toulouse from Hull KR ahead of last season. He played a vital role in their promotion clinching campaign. Garbutt, 32, has made almost 150 career appearances for Melbourne Storm, Brisbane Broncos, Leeds, Hull KR and Toulouse.
9 James Cunningham
The 27-year-old was Toulouse’s first signing they announced for 2022. Cunningham joined Toulouse from Huddersfield. The Hull-born hooker made 104 appearances for London Broncos between 2015-19.
10 Harrison Hansen
Hansen, 36, brings wealth of experience to the Toulouse squad. The former New Zealand and Samoa international has made more than 400 career appearances for Wigan, Salford, Leigh, Widnes and Toulouse. Hansen is a two-time Grand Final and Challenge Cup winner. In addition, he has played in two World Cups for Samoa.
11 Andrew Dixon
Dixon is another player who knows what Super League is all about. The 31-year-old came through the ranks at St Helens, where he played in a Super League Grand Final in 2010. Dixon has made more than 200 career appearances for Saints, Salford, Leigh, Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse.
12 Dom Peyroux
Peyroux signing for Toulouse just after winning the Super League Grand Final with St Helens in 2020 came as a surprise to most people. The 32-year-old back-rower has played almost 200 career games for Gold Coast Titans, New Zealand Warriors, Saints and Toulouse. He won two Super League titles whilst with Saints. On the international scene, Peyroux has won eight caps for the Cook Islands and three for Samoa.
13 Lloyd White
The 33-year-old hooker was frequently used as a traditional ball-playing loose forward last season. White has won 15 caps for Wales and played for his birth country in the 2013 World Cup. However, he has switched allegiances to Jamaica and wants to represent his Jamaican heritage at next year’s World Cup. White has made almost 200 career appearances for Crusaders, Widnes and Toulouse.
Here is our pick of how Toulouse’s bench could look…
Subs: Eloi Pelissier, Joseph Paulo, Joe Bretherton, Justin Sangare.
Toulouse have plenty of options, too. France international props Gadwin Springer and Romain Navarrete could feature, whilst USA international Junior Vaivai can play centre or wing.
French playmakers Lucas Albert and Anthony Marion will be looking to impress in next year’s World Cup.