Toulouse turn Super League upside down with shock victory over leaders St Helens

The first win of the season for the French club came against the previously-unbeaten Saints.

<p>Kristian Woolf, St Helens head coach.</p>

Kristian Woolf, St Helens head coach.

Toulouse Olympique turned Super League upside down with a stunning 22-20 victory over champions St Helens at Stade Ernest Wallon.

The first win of the season for the French club came against the previously-unbeaten Saints in a result that will have major implications at both ends of the league table.

The tone was set from the very start, Saints fumbled the kick-off and handed possession to Toulouse who switched the ball left where winger Matty Russell struck in the corner for the opening score in the first minute. Chris Hankinson landed the touchline conversion and the Olympians were incredibly 6-0 ahead.

The lead did not last long, and a 70-metre break by Konrad Hurrell, bravely halted by Toulouse full-back Olly Ashall-Bott created the field position for Tommy Makinson to stride over on the left but he was unable to convert his try from the touchline.

Josh Simm latched on to a long pass to score in the opposite corner to put Saints ahead in the 17th minute but Toulouse hit back straight from the restart as the kick-off bounced straight into touch.

Tony Gigot threaded a grubber kick through the defence for former Saints star Dominique Peyroux to score his first try against his old club. Hankinson’s conversion put the Olympians in front 12-8.

But St Helens went ahead just before half-time when Makinson set off on a mazy 30-metre dash which created the space for full-back Jack Welsby to cross the line unopposed, with Lewis Dodd adding the extras.

Just two points separated the teams at the interval but the addition of veteran hooker James Roby 10 minutes into the second half seemed to inspire Saints.

He was involved in the break that saw fellow substitutes Jake Wingfield and Daniel Norman combine for the next try, Norman touching down and Dodd converting to make it 20-12.

But Toulouse scrum-half Lucas Albert came up with two killer plays to put his side back in the game, the first a 60-metre kick fielded by Simm who was bundled into touch by the flag, then a slick delayed pass to put Chris Hankinson over the line for a try he converted himself.

At 20-18 to the visitors with 10 minutes to play the game was wide open and three penalties in a row conceded by St Helens put Toulouse on the attack.

When winger Paul Marcon crossed in the right corner from a booming Gigot pass, pandemonium broke out among French supporters with fireworks and smoke billowing across the pitch.

Hankinson could not see through the smoke to land the touchline conversion but at 22-20 up with two minutes to go the Olympians held on for a historic momentum-shifting victory.