YEP Jury: Youngsters do Leeds Rhinos proud in sweltering Toulouse

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Our panel of fans were disappointed with Leeds Rhinos’ 20-6 defeat at relegation-threatened Toulouse on Saturday but realistic enough to understand that the effort put in by an incredibly young squad was worthy of real praise.

Here’s what they thought of the Rhinos display:


It was an unfortunate loss down in southern France on Saturday.

Leeds Rhinos' Corey Johnson in action against Toulouse. Picture: Manuel Blondeau/ Rhinos' Corey Johnson in action against Toulouse. Picture: Manuel Blondeau/
Leeds Rhinos' Corey Johnson in action against Toulouse. Picture: Manuel Blondeau/

When listening to the commentary it sounded like our forward pack was heavily beaten under the extreme temperatures. Toulouse had a game plan and fair play to them they dominated us all around the pitch not just the forwards.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Our wingers didn’t have a great night either with bombs from kicks left, right and centre. The wingers needed to be much better in attack as well, they were lacking the confidence and the middles were having to do most of the work which isn’t the tactic I would have done in the heat.

You should allow the fitter players to drive the ball the forwards.

Looking ahead to Thursday, it will be good to be back at Headingley after so long. It’s a tough game after Wigan’s Bevan French went over for seven tries against Hull.

Jack Sinfield gets Leeds Rhinos on the attack at Toulouse on Saturday. Picture: Manuel Blondeau/ Sinfield gets Leeds Rhinos on the attack at Toulouse on Saturday. Picture: Manuel Blondeau/
Jack Sinfield gets Leeds Rhinos on the attack at Toulouse on Saturday. Picture: Manuel Blondeau/

We just need to stick to the game plan, try not to let in any silly tries and try our best.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hopefully more bodies might be back, especially in the halves and at hooker as we have definitely missed Kruise Leeming for the past two weeks.


The lucky pink shirts’ unbeaten run is over.

Leeds were left hot and bothered in tropical Toulouse and defeat has put a massive dent in our play-off hopes, whilst opening up the relegation battle between Wakefield and Toulouse.

You couldn’t fault the Loiners’ effort, however Toulouse battered us down the middle and the absence of our missing props was apparent throughout.

Having both first-choice half-backs out and a late withdrawal from Liam Sutcliffe didn’t help either. This was though, two points and a win we were banking on.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Leeds are going to have to bounce back quickly as hosting Wigan on Thursday won’t be an easy assignment.

Congratulations to Rhyse Martin on his contract extension, kudos to the club for keeping an integral member of the squad. Oliver Gildart would be a surprise temporary addition from Australia.

There is also a rumour about us signing Luke Thompson from the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Regardless, we will need to add further quality of a permanent nature and still need more class as Rohan Smith shapes the squad in his own mould.


Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I think that Leeds got a free pass for the Toulouse game and as much as he won’t admit it I think Rohan Smith thought the same. Travelling to the south of France is a tough ask at the best of times, never mind when temperatures are hitting 35 plus degrees.

Toulouse are regularly used to training and playing in the mid to low 30s which was always going to make it hard for Leeds, nevermind having so many players out injured.

I think Rohan had an eye on the Wigan game on Thursday night as it sounds like a few of the missing players were touch and go in France.

Toulouse play a typically French brand of rugby with plenty of enterprise and flair which is why I would love to see them stay up.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Beating Leeds along with some favourable home games could go some way to doing that.

If Leeds get a few back from injury and suspension I think they will push Wigan close, they need to start picking up the points again to try and sneak into the top six, especially with Hull in freefall at the moment.


I’m conflicted between disappointment and pride following the defeat to Toulouse on Saturday night.

In the warm weather in the south of France we were already short on numbers before we had to make another change due to illness.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The first half was tough. On the back of their Magic Weekend victory over Wakefield, they were full of confidence, and our depleted, suspended-ridden team were, not.

They battled and attempted the comeback in the second half after a Brad Dwyer try, but it just wasn’t to be for the youngsters.

It was good to see Rohan Smith praise the youngsters in his post-match interview, ultimately, they’ll be the future of the club, so it’s a good chance to properly see them in action, in not-so-good conditions.

We are back at Headingley after what feels like forever this week and it’s a double header with our women’s team playing Wigan just before the men’s team.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That’s going to be a challenging game, and I don’t have much hope, but I wouldn’t mind being pleasantly surprised.


The Toulouse result was so frustrating, but one, once the team was released, that was expected. It was a great opportunity to keep pushing for the play-offs but Toulouse are in a relegation battle and played well.

As always, the young guns did the team proud. The future looks bright and Saturday was another learning curve for them.

It was really good to hear Rohan Smith’s post-match talk about how proud he was despite the result. He knew what job he was coming into and is taking it in his stride.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After way too long, the Rhinos are back at Headingley on Thursday. It’s going to be a great occasion with both the men and women playing. It’s great to see the women’s game getting the attention it deserves.

Leeds versus Wigan games are always classics and with the two points on offer for the Rhinos to keep their season alive, I expect a good performance.

I’m not sure what players we will have available, but having a close to full-strength squad is vital. Stopping Bevan French scoring more than seven tries is a top priority.


Things were always going to be tough, away in Toulouse last Saturday, given the makeshift squad and the intense heat.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I’d suggest that it was probably one of the hottest playing temperatures in Leeds’ history, with the thermometer coming in somewhere between the surface of the sun and one of those fruit pies you get at fast food restaurants.

Just to get on the scoreboard was an achievement in such conditions and the result makes the relegation battle that bit more interesting.

It will probably also be an agenda item at the next meeting of the Wakefield and District Conspiracy Theory Society.

Leeds fans will be clocking-up more passport stamps than Judith Chalmers for the remaining away games with this trip to Toulouse and two visits to Perpignan to squeeze in before the end of the regular season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

No need for passports, but you will need to dust off your Sat Navs, dowsing rods and compasses for Thursday night, as we’re back at home against Wigan. That’s if you can still find Headingley after seven weeks away.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.