Toulouse promotion to Super League would be great step forward for French rugby league

After narrowly missing out on the Million Pound Game last season, Toulouse are again in the mix for promotion to Super League via the Championship play-offs.

Sylvain Houles’ men currently sit third in the table, a point behind York, and are the only team to have beaten runaway leaders Toronto Wolfpack this season – thumping them 46-16 in France.

With Catalans Dragons having been in Super League since 2006, the addition of a second French club would be a massive boost for the game.

A man who sees more than most is Toulouse’s English physiotherapist Mark Oxley, who looks after the team during its games on these shores.

Oxley said: “I hope Toulouse reach the Super League, it would be great to say that I have taken part in this adventure.

“Promotion to the highest European level would be a great reward for all the work done by the players and the staff. This would also be a great step forward for the French rugby league.

“I have been fortunate to work with many teams over the years, but even though I only see them when they’re in England, I have felt very good about this group from the beginning.”

Oxley is based near Leeds and works mainly for the police, where he is chief of clinical services.

His role with Toulouse came about in 2016 when they faced Wakefield in the Challenge Cup, and the RFL were looking for physios available in England to help support the French club’s medical staff.

He added: “Generally, I join the team at the hotel on the morning of the game and we go together to the stadium.

“I prepare the boys with straps and massages, and then back at the hotel, I go around the different knocks or injuries and report to the sporting and medical staff.

“I also talk about the physical condition of players for their preparation to the next game so that the players follows a suitable treatment on his return to France. I am in constant contact with other members of the medical staff in France.

“I still have to improve my French but I am sufficiently comfortable to sing with them in the locker room if they win!”

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