I started watching the Widnes-Toulouse game whilst cooking dinner, meaning that I wasn’t giving it my full attention. Even so, as I was simmering down my Chilli Con Carne*, I couldn’t help but notice that Widnes appeared to be running riot very quickly. Then the time came when my food was finally ready, and so I stopped watching and started eating. When I started watching the game again, it was 40-0 to Widnes… and it wasn’t even half-time yet.
Watching the bits of the game that I did, it seemed perfectly clear to me that Toulouse were not up to the defensive standard required. They barely dominated any tackled at all, and the few that they managed to get a bit of momentum in were often ruined by some sloppy discipline. Most worryingly for them their wide defence was horrible and Widnes kept finding a way through it.
Of course Toulouse have some excuses, the most pertinent of which is that they’d basically not played a game in months until their cup game at Sheffield last week, and if ever a team looked undercooked it was this Toulouse team who really should have prepared better for the standard of the Championship. Also, Widnes looked almost as tasty as my Chilli and I think that Paul Cullen will instill some extra direction into them once he comes fully on board (he was in an ‘observational’ capacity tonight, although he looked fairly communicative with John Stankevitch whenever the cameras cut to him) although we’ll have a better idea of their standing within the Championship after their game with Halifax next week. It’s possible that Toulouse have gotten the hardest task out of the way, and frankly the only way from here is up.
*very tasty with sour cream and cheddar