7th August 2017, 09:45
BULLS OVERWHELMED BY TOULOUSE
As the Bradford Bulls hosted Toulouse Olympique in the opening round of the Kingstone Press Championship Shield competition, Geoff Toovey’s side fell to a 26-10 defeat.
The French outfit came across the channel in excellent form. The blue and whites were in close contention with Halifax RLFC for a top four spot that would have seen them competing against the likes of Warrington Wolves and Catalan Dragons.
Earlier in the week Geoff Toovey hailed Sylvain Houles side as the ‘top team in the Shield competition’, before the two sides went toe to toe at the Provident stadium on Sunday.
Houles gave evidence for the NRL legend’s claim, as his side who are renowned for being poor away from home came out on top.
Toulouse Olympique added the first points to the scoreboard, crossing the line on the 3rd and 21st minute through Curran and imposing centre, Marguerite.
Marking his first game since the beginning of April, Lee Smith put in a performance that placed him in contention for man of the match. Smith led from the front foot standing strong in defence and set up Iliess Macani for Bradford’s first try.
As the ball was played across the face of the Toulouse line Smith floated the ball over two opposing defenders, allowing Macani to move into the flight of the ball. This gave the winger momentum to move around his opposing number and touchdown.
As the final moments of the first half drew to a close the Bulls kept their foot firmly on the pedal and charged down field.
A miraculous piece of play from Vila Halafihi gave Bradford space to work in front of the French outfit’s line. As the stand in centre was being forced out of play by two defenders, he managed to flick the ball backwards into the hands of Cory Aston.
On the next tackle Ross Peltier barged his way over the line after receiving the pass from dummy half, even though he was being held in a three-man tackle
As Bradford gave their best efforts to keep within touching distance of the French sides lead, an impressive defensive performance kept the Bulls to a scoreless second half.
On the first drive of the second half Marguerite emulated his first try. Charging to the line with conviction the centre manged to brake a tackle and stumble his way over the line, despite the Bulls best efforts to keep him at bay.
In the final five minutes Toulouse dealt the final blow of the afternoon, as a handing error from the Bulls proved costly. Winger, Maurel broke down the edge immediately after the scrum and used his pace to cross the line, sealing Bradford’s fate.
BRADFORD BULLS: Smith, Macani, Halafihi, Mendeika, Rickett, Aston, Keyes, Kirk, Moore, Roche, C. Smith, Bentley, Sironen.
Interchange: Davies, Peltier, Oledzki, Hallas.
GOALS: Smith (1)
TRIES: Macani (28’), Peltier (39’)
TOULOUSE OLYMPIQUE: Kheirrallah, Marcon, Ader, Marguerite, Maurel, Marion, Robin, Boyer, Bouzinac, Sangare, Mika, Curran, Bentley.
Interchanges: Kriouache, Puech, Hepi, Nzoungou
GOALS: Kheirrallah (2)
TRIES: Curran (3’, 34’), Marguerite (21’, 41’), Maurel (75’)