Wakefield Trinity v Toulouse Olympique: Willie Poching ignores outside noise ahead of crunch clash
A second consecutive victory for the bottom-placed French club would close the gap on 11th-placed Trinity to just two points and increase the pressure on Poching’s men in the battle for survival.
Conversely, Wakefield could end tomorrow six points clear of their relegation rivals, which would leave Toulouse with a mountain to climb after winning only three games all season to date.
It has been billed as a Million Pound Game by some who believe it will decide who stays up and who drops down to the Championship.
While he is well aware of the bigger picture, Poching has been focused on the process rather than the potential outcome.
“The pressure comes from you people and everybody externally,” said Poching in his pre-match press conference.
“Our focus is on delivering. When we’ve got it right, it’s got us results.
“The challenge for us is to get in sync, do what we’ve done in training this week and execute the plan in a way we know we have to in order to try get the job done against a very, very good team.
“It’s an exciting game. It’s an honour to open up Magic Weekend.
“We understand the enormity of the game in respect of where both teams are in the table.
“But we’ve prepared well and are focused on giving the best performance that we can.”
Wakefield were in a position of relative comfort thanks to back-to-back wins but they have conceded 120 points in two games to open the door to Toulouse.
Trinity have already been stung once by Sylvain Houles’ side this year, in May when they went down 20-14 in the south of France.
Poching has urged his team to turn up to St James’ Park with the right attitude.
“Our application was a big one,” he said on the previous meeting.
“We were off in a lot of effort areas and they beat us to the punch on more occasions than we beat them.
“They’re a dangerous team with dangerous players across the park - Tony Gigot, Corey Norman, Nathan Peats.
“They’ve got a flyer at the back in Olly Ashall-Bott as well. He’s been a revelation somewhat since going there from Huddersfield.
“We got caught the last time we played them at their place. We understand the areas we need to be better at and have learnt how to approach the game.
“It’s just a matter of taking those learnings into Saturday afternoon.”
Poching hung up his boots in 2006, meaning he never got to experience Magic Weekend as a player.
He is hoping the occasion brings the best out of his Wakefield team.
“I wasn’t a fan when it first started but I love it now for the fans and what they get to experience,” said Poching.
“I haven’t got too many regrets about missing out as a player, but I know the guys enjoy playing on the big stage.
“Hopefully that’s the case on Saturday at 2.30pm at St James’ Park.”