Why Wakefield Trinity must avoid defeat to Toulouse Olympique at all costs

When Wakefield Trinity left the field after beating Salford Red Devils on April 3, they were sixth in the Super League table.

Fast forward a month and they are only one place above basement side Toulouse Olympique, their next opponents in the south of France on Sunday week.

If the Easter period was a crossroads in the Super League season, Trinity took the wrong turn.

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A programme that featured games against Castleford Tigers, Wigan Warriors, Hull KR and Huddersfield Giants was never going to be straightforward but Willie Poching would have expected his side to be more competitive.

Tinirau Arona appears dejected after the defeat by Huddersfield Giants. (Picture: SWPix.com)

When Wakefield did get themselves into a winning position in the most recent clash with Huddersfield, the scars of the previous three matches were evident in a timid second-half showing.

In the defeats to Castleford, Wigan and Hull KR, Trinity conceded an aggregate of 120 points and could only muster a combined 24 in reply.

Poching's side were out of each match by half-time and barely laid a glove on the opposition.

Last Thursday's performance in the 14-12 loss to Huddersfield was a marked improvement but Wakefield's inability to get over the line heaps pressure on the next fixture against Toulouse.

Wakefield suffered a heavy defeat at Hull KR over the Easter period. (Picture: SWPix.com)

If ever there was a must-win game in round 12, this is it for the French team.

Lose and they would be six points adrift of Trinity, which would have the look of an insurmountable deficit even taking into account the potential for further signings on the back of Corey Norman's arrival.

Desperate to drag Wakefield into a relegation scrap, Toulouse will be gunning for Poching's men when they visit Stade Ernest Wallon.

The Super League new boys are a different proposition on their home patch, as Wigan, St Helens and Hull KR can testify to.

Wakefield showed positive signs against Huddersfield. (Picture: SWPix.com)

The Warriors and KR survived almighty scares to escape with the competition points but Saints left with their tail between their legs after suffering their first defeat of the season.

Make no mistake, it is an awkward assignment for a Trinity side scratching around for form.

Wakefield have enough quality to get the job done in France next week but they must turn up with the right attitude and match Toulouse's intensity.

A victory would not only allay any relegation fears but give Trinity the best chance of landing their top targets as they look ahead to 2023.

With the recruitment market now open, Wakefield can ill afford a fifth straight loss at the hands of Super League's bottom side.

For the sake of their short and long-term ambitions, Trinity simply must beat Toulouse.