Toulouse Olympique’s Rising IMG Grade and Super League Prospects

Toulouse Olympique Head Coach Sylvain Houles Confident in Club’s Improving IMG Grade, Raising Concerns for Struggling Super League Sides

Toulouse Olympique head coach Sylvain Houles has expressed his belief that his side’s IMG grade will increase, a message that could serve as a warning to several Super League clubs teetering on the brink. According to the indicative grades released last year, Toulouse ranked 10th among the 35 professional clubs, meaning they would have earned a spot in Super League had the grades been implemented immediately. Below them were three current Super League teams – Leigh Leopards, Castleford Tigers, and London Broncos – ranked 12th, 13th, and 24th, respectively.

“We still have a good grade. We need to improve it. I think little by little this season, we will and I hope we’re going to make it because it’s an important year for us, for the club and for rugby league. I think it will bring so much to the Super League having Toulouse, having Catalans and having that derby.”

While it has long been anticipated that London Broncos will almost certainly drop out of the competition, with Wakefield Trinity expected to return, Houles believes Toulouse could also find themselves in Super League by 2025. The French side scored highly in areas such as catchment, an aspect that rivals and current 13th-placed Castleford Tigers do not excel in.

Financial Challenges and Concerns for the Future

However, Houles acknowledged the financial challenges faced by his club, noting that the costs associated with their foray into Super League, including paying for other teams, have made their journey an uphill battle. “It’s just such a shame,” he said.

Houles also voiced his concern that if Toulouse fail to secure promotion this season, Super League could become a closed shop, a concept that has drawn criticism from fans. “If we don’t make it this season. I don’t know what’s going to make us improve our grade if we don’t make it. We’ve been in the Championship for six years and it’s not like the Championship is going to help us to attract new partnerships, new activities, new crowds. Only the Super League is going to help us to do this,” Houles explained.

The Toulouse head coach’s candid comments highlight the high stakes involved in the IMG grading system and the potential impact on the future of rugby league in France and beyond.

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