​Dons jet over to France for tough Toulouse clash

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Doncaster RLFC will need to deny former Super League side Toulouse Olympique their fifth successive Betfred Championship win if they are to avoid coming home empty handed from the Stade Ernest-Wallon on Saturday night.

The full-time French side, who suffered their first home defeat of the season when being beaten by 18-14 London Broncos in last year’s promotion play-off final, have made a mixed start to the 2024 campaign.

But they have hit form in recent weeks having beaten the likes of Widnes and Halifax as well as giving unbeaten leaders Wakefield Trinity one of their closest games.

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“They’ve had a big change of personnel within the group and it has taken them time to find out how each other plays and making those connections on the edges,” said head coach Richard Horne.

Josh Guzdek in action for the Dons.Josh Guzdek in action for the Dons.
Josh Guzdek in action for the Dons.

“But you can see that things have started to come together by the scores they have been running up and it’s going to be a big challenge for us but one we are looking forward to as we do every game at this level.”

The Dons, who will fly out on Friday and return on Sunday, have picked up just one point from their last two games after a run of three wins from four.

“We are still in the top half of the table but it is getting very tight in mid-table and there are some good sides below us who you wouldn’t normally expect them to be where they are and things can quickly change depending on the results on any given weekend,” said Horne.

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“We’ve got a tough spell of away games, including trips to Bradford and Featherstone coming up between now and our next game at the Eco-Power Stadium at the end of July. But we’ll be playing on some dry tracks and that suits our style of play.

Richard HorneRichard Horne
Richard Horne

“We knew as a promoted side that it was going to be tough because the Championship is a competitive league and we are still learning.

“Whoever we are playing we can’t afford to be making some of the unforced errors we are making at times. Under different circumstances some of the players would be sat in the stands but due to our numbers we can’t afford to give them a kick up the backside to say ‘that’s not good enough’.”

Although several of the side who featured in the 25-25 draw against Whitehaven could be missing, the Dons will welcome back former Super League prop Suaia Matagi after a one-match ban.

The former Castleford forward has proved to be one of the club’s best close-season signings.