Brave Knights push Toulouse all the way in France: Saturday 27th April - Betfred Championship
York City Knights rounded off a tough Easter period of three games in eight days by producing a fantastic performance in the south of France on Saturday afternoon, but narrowly lost 30-26 at Toulouse Olympique.
The Knights matched their full time opponents from the first minute to last, scoring five tries each – with the lead changing hands no less than seven times – in one of the best games of the 2019 Betfred Championship to date.
Knights Head Coach made a number of changes to the team that beat Widnes Vikings on Easter Monday, as the injured Graeme Horne and captain Tim Spears dropped out and loanee Nick Rawsthorne was recalled by Toronto Wolfpack. Fit again Ronan Dixon and Perry Whiteley returned to the team, and on-loan Hunslet half back Cain Southernwood made his Knights debut after just one training session.
York started well and drew first blood off the back of the game’s first penalty. Southernwood played a cutout pass to full-back Marsh that created an overlap for winger Judah Mazive to score on the right edge. Robinson missed the touch line conversion.
Toulouse quickly hit back as the Knights conceded a drop out from the restart and Bastian Ader crashed over on the last tackle of the resulting set. Anthony Marion converted and the home side lead 6-4 after the first quarter.
The Knights hit back in the 24th minute when Marcus Stock grounded a well placed grubber from Connor Robinson, who this time added the extras.
The home team retook the lead after half an hour after Knights full back Matty Marsh was sin binned for a professional foul, and from the resulting set Cook Islands international Jonathan Ford played a wonderful pass for Alex Curran to score.
York took the lead for a third time despite being down to 12 men when hooker Kriss Brining spotted a gap in the defensive line and darted over from dummy half ten meters out. Robinson goaled and the Knights took a deserved 12-16 lead into the sheds at half time.
That lead was short lived however as star full back Mark Kheirallah finished a Dean Parata break from his own half in the very first set of the second half. The hosts then went two scores ahead as Stan Robin flew from the opposite side of the field onto Ford’s clever reverse kick 40 metres out, Maurel goaling.
The Knights refused to let their heads drop however, and retook the lead with two tries in three minutes just after the hour mark. Jason Bass – who was now playing at full back – chimed into the attacking line and created space for Perry Whiteley to cross, before another pinpoint kick from Robinson was pounced on by forward Sam Scott to score.
Toulouse again came back though and scored the winning try five minutes from time when hooker Anthony Marion somehow spun out of a three man tackle to score, Marion converted his own try.
Connor Robinson pulled off a one-on-one ball steal as the hooter sounded during a frantic final play, but Toulouse eventually managed to snuff out the danger and hold on for a hard earned victory.
The Knights players were greeted with chants of ‘We’re York and we’re proud of it’ ringing out around the ground by a fantastic travelling Knights support of well over 200 fans, who were understandably proud of the performance they just witnessed.
Attentions now turn to the visit of Batley Bulldogs to Bootham this Sunday (May 5th) in a huge game in the Betfred Championship, with the Knights looking to continue their play-off push as we approach the half way point in this thrilling season. Get your tickets online now from Eventbrite HERE!
Toulouse: Kheirallah, Maurel, Ader, Jussaume, Marcon, Robin, Ford, Puech, Marion, Bretherton, Mika, Curran, Bell. Subs (all used): Parata, Boyer, Hepi, Vaivai.
Tries: Ader (14), Curran (30), Kheirallah (41), Robin (53), Marion (74).
Conversions: Marion (3/3), Maurel (2/2).
Knights: Marsh, Mazive, Bass, Salter, Whiteley, Southernwood, Robinson, Baldwinson, Jubb, Teanby, Stock, Hey, Petersen. Subs (all used): Brining, Dixon, Blagbrough, Scott.
Tries: Mazive (10), Stock (23), Brining (34), Whiteley (63), Scott (67).
Goals: Robinson (3/5).
Sin-bin: Marsh 29 (professional foul).
Isaac Poad Man of the match: Connor Robinson.
Attendance: 2,700 est.