Salford Red Devils moved into the top six of the Betfred Super League last night, with a 24-11 victory over Toulouse Olympique.
Five Red Devils hit appearance milestones in Round 20 – Marc Sneyd made his 250th Betfred Super League appearance, Tim Lafai and Danny Addy hit 200 career appearances, Alex Gerrard ran out for his 150th career appearance and Ryan Lannon joined the Salford 100-Club with 100 appearances for the Red Devils.
The in-form hosts opened the scoring after just three minutes thanks to Mathieu Jussaume, who darted through a gap in the Salford line.
The next 25 minutes saw both sides have promising spells, before Salford evened the scoring in the 27th minute. On the last, Marc Sneyd sent a high kick into the left corner that was effortlessly collected by Joe Burgess, who then grounded the ball.
The last five minutes of the first half saw Toulouse send over a drop-goal and a penalty-goal, to put the French in front at the interval. If it wasn’t for a try-saving tackle from Burgess on Tony Gigot in the 38th minute, the hosts’ lead at the break would have been more than just three points.
Half-time: Toulouse Olympique 9-6 Salford Red Devils
Salford started the second forty the stronger side and piled the pressure on the Toulouse defence. The pressure paid off in the 52nd minute when Ken Sio went over in the right corner, gifted a simple try that was set up from a perfect cutout pass from Ryan Brierley.
Three minutes later, the home side were awarded another penalty and again opted for the two – Chris Hankinson converting successfully to put Toulouse back in front by just a point.
Burgess then picked up his second try of the evening two minutes later. Fast hands down the left from a Salford scrum, ended with a trademark Lafai-to-Burgess offload to send our number 5 over in the corner and put Salford back in front.
On the hour mark, Brodie Croft made a break through the centre and sprinted 40 metres before he was taken down by Olly Ashall-Bott. Salford quickly moved the ball left and the hosts, who were on the back foot after Croft’s break, were penalised for offside. Salford opted for the two and Sneyd converted successfully.
In the 63rd minute, Croft sent a looping pass out to Sio in the right corner, who then cut inside to beat his man and stretched for the line to double his try tally.
The next ten minutes saw Toulouse force three goal line dropouts as they ramped up the pressure, but Salford fended off every wave of attack on their line.
In the last five minutes, Burgess made another two try-saving tackles. The first came from an Ashall-Bott break after a quick tap from the 20. Burgess covered an exceptional amount of ground to bring the Toulouse fullback down. Two minutes later, Jussaume was inches away from the try-line before he was held up by a huge tackle from our number 5.
Everyone came through unscathed apart from Danny Addy, who ruptured his achilles in the first forty, and Ryan Brierley, who failed a HIA after coming off a few minutes after setting up Sio’s first try.
Full-time: Toulouse Olympique 11-24 Salford Red Devils
Toulouse: Ashall-Bott, Schaumkel, Jussaume, Hankinson, Russell, Norman, Gigot, Alvaro, Peats, Navarrete, Bretherton, Peyroux, Paulo, Albert, Hansen, Belmas, Sangare.
Salford: Brierley, Sio, Cross, Lafai, Burgess, Croft, Sneyd, Gerrard, Ackers, Lannon, Taylor, Watkins, Hellewell, Addy, Burke, Ormondroyd, Atkin.
Toulouse tries: Jussaume (3′)
Toulouse goals: Hankinson
Toulouse penalty-goals: Hankinson (2/2)
Toulouse drop-goal: Gigot
Salford tries: Burgess (27′, 56′), Sio (52′, 63′)
Salford goals: Sneyd (3/4)
Salford penalty-goals: Sneyd
Referee: Robert Hicks