John Duffy praised his “special group” after Leigh launched their new Betfred Championship season with a superb victory over their much-fancied French visitors.

Centurions scored four tries-three in a blistering nine minutes first half spell-to delight a near 3,000 crowd at Leigh Sports Village.

“It was a great display for the full 80 minutes,” said Duffy after his first victory since succeeding Kieron Purtill as head coach. “I can’ speak highly enough of the group.

“They are really special. The Saints lads who came in were outstanding.

“They didn’t take a backwards step and bought into what I want and into us getting this first win. It’s only one win and we can’t get too giddy,”: he added.

“But it was against a really good team that put Catalans to the sword the previous week.

“We only slipped out of our game plan a couple of times and that’s when we got burned. So, things to work on but plenty of positives.”

Stan Robin’s fifth minute try off Mark Kheirallah’s grubber could have been a set-back for Duffy’s men.

Instead, the visitors, including ex Leyther Paddy Vaivai, allowed Centurions, with Aussie prop Luke Douglas on debut, back into contention with their handling errors and ill-discipline.

Winger Jonny Pownall bagged his first try since returning from Toronto after 16 minutes, converted from the touchline by Martyn Ridyard.

Stefan Marsh missed a clutch of chances in the friendly defeat by London Broncos. This time the ex-Widnes winger finished off after Gregg McNally’s high hanger bobbled around in-goal.

The best was yet to come and Leigh’s third try was definitely one from the top draw.

Started by Toby Adamson’s dash down the left, Leigh shifted the ball across to the opposite flank. Matty Costello and Pownall eventually exchanged passes and the dual registration Saints centre roared by the posts for Ridyard to find his range again.

Paul Marcon brought Toulouse back into contention six minutes from the break after a right edge raid but Leigh were good value for their 16-12 interval advantage.

The home side needed just four minutes of the second half to extend their advantage as Joe Cator dived over from dummy half to register his first try for the club. Ridyard goaled.

The reliable stand-off kicked his fourth goal- a 65th minute penalty-after Josh Woods was taken off the ball by Joe Bretherton.

But the game was back in the balance when Marcon claimed his second touch down of the game, unmarked as he fielded Johnathon Ford’s crossfield kick in the right corner.

Anthony Marion’s failed conversion still left Toulouse needing two scores for victory. And roared home by the North Standers, Leigh upped their outstanding defence to complete a deserved and confidence boosting win.

Mach stats:


McNally; Pownall, I Thornley, Costello, Marsh; Ridyard, Woods; Douglas, Higham, Brooks, T Adamson, A Thornley, L. Adamson; substitutes: Smith, Cator, Ashworth, Spencer

Tries: Pownall (16), Marsh (23), Costello (25), Cator (44)

Goals: Ridyard 4/5


Kheirallah; Marcon, Margueritte, Ader, Maurel; Ford, Robin; Puech, Marion, Bretherton, Mika, Curran, Santi; substitutes: Parata, Boyer, Vaivai, Evans.

Tries: Robin (5) Marcon (34 and 70)

Goals: Kheirallah 2/2, Marion 0/1

Referee: Marcus Griffiths

Half-time: 16-12

Attendance: 2,987