Sheffield Eagles produced a gutsy second-half showing in the sweltering Steel City heat but again tasted defeat on home soil after a 46-24 defeat to high-flying Toulouse.
The Eagles looked on course for another hammering at the interval, but Mark Aston’s side showed some spirit in the second stanza to give the scoreline a more respectable feel in tropical conditions at the OLP.
The presence of England international Matty Smith on dual-registration gave the Eagles a much needed lift, but despite the St Helens influence Aston’s side were still powerless to halt a Toulouse side with eyes on Super League next season.
The visitors opened up a handy lead in the opening quarter and never looked back, as Aston’s side began to feel the South Yorkshire heat. A loose pass gifted William Barthau the opening try on seven minutes, and Tony Maurel touched down soon after with Mark Kheirallah converting both scores.
Joseph Bretherton’s converted try from close range extended the lead on 21 minutes, and shortly after Rhys Curran spun in the tackle to touch down with Kheirallah converting.
The Eagles fought back and gave themselves a foothold when great work by Menzie Yere to stay in play was followed by a looping pass to Ryan Millar who crossed, but Cory Aston missed a difficult conversion.
A converted Khierallah try put more distance between the two sides, but the Eagles came out fighting following the interval.
After Shaun Pick was held up, the Eagles switched the play to the right and Adam Swift dived full length to ground in the corner. Aston missed a difficult conversion.
The visitors resumed normal service with a brace of tries before the hour mark through Kheirallah and Gavin Marguerite, but the Eagles reduced the deficit again when Josh Toole showed great persistence to force his way over the whitewash, but Aston missed the extras.
Aston’s side made further inroads and looked the stronger in the final quarter. Another terrific effort from Swift saw him cross in the corner, before Millar bagged his second score late on which was converted by Aston.
Eagles: Costello; Swift, Spedding, Yere, Millar; Aston, Smith; Offerdahl, Fozard, Pick; Weldon, Toole; James. Interchange: Makelim, Davies, Garcia, P.Burns.
Scorers: Tries: Millar (30, 77), Swift (43,67), Toole (62) Goals: Aston 2/5
Toulouse: Kheirallah; Marcon, Marguerite, Centrone, Maurel; Ford, Barthau; Boyer, Kriouache, Bretherton; Mika, Curran; Marion. Interchange: Bouscayrol, Puech, Hepi, Planas.
Scorers: Tries: Barthau (7), Maurel (17), Bretherton (21), Curran (25), Kheirallah (36, 51), Marguerite (60), Centrone (73) Goals: Kheirallah 7/8
Referee: Marcus Griffiths