Toulouse’s Mitch Garbutt is looking to ruin Hull KR pals’ latest European outing

The Australian prop is still on holiday with ex-Robins team-mates Danny McGuire and Matt Parcell but aims to give them a difficult time as his bottom-placed French club seek just their second Super League win


Toulouse’s Mitch Garbutt is still on holiday with former Hull KR team-mates Danny McGuire and Matt Parcell but hopes their trip to France is coming to an end.

The 32-year-old Australian prop also won the Leeds Grand Final with the duo before joining them at Rovers. Super League top scorer McGuire is now KR’s assistant manager while Australian hooker Parcell remains one of the East Yorkshire club’s biggest threats.

Ahead of their Easter Monday meeting in the south of France, Garbutt said: “We went on holiday to Spain with the families at the end of last season. They still don’t buy beer. That’s why they have so much money and so many houses. I’m sure Matty is an adopted Yorkshireman.

“I had a great time at KR and am still in contact with a lot of people from my time there. And from Leeds they also have the Tank on the Flank Ryan Hall. He’s doing what he’s been doing for the last 10+ years. His numbers are so constant. KR got off to a reasonable start while we struggled a bit. But Monday is a good opportunity for us to hopefully turn our season around.”

Rovers celebrated a fourth consecutive win against Hull in Friday’s derby, but bottom-placed Toulouse suffered a seventh defeat in eight games against the Catalans 24 hours earlier. Garbutt, who won the Treble with Rhinos in 2015, said: “KR will be pretty happy with how they ran against Hull.

“But since they have to travel to France and we also have an extra day to recover, maybe that improves our chances.”

Toulouse Olympique’s Mitch Garbutt

Garbutt played for the Robins in 2019 and 2020 before joining Toulouse, whom he helped win promotion to the top flight last year. Speaking of his own French adventure, the ex-Brisbane striker said: “The experience of helping them get into the Super League and what it has done for the French rugby league community has been just as rewarding as the success, that I had when I won Grand Finals.

“Obviously this year was a big contrast to last season in the Championship – when we were used to winning – but that’s part of the game. It’s a big learning curve for the club, the players and even the coaching staff, but I feel the club is handling it well. We had mixed performances. The win against Saints was a great opportunity. But there must be many more great occasions.”

Toulouse’s only win was an impressive home win against reigning champions Saints last month and they know they need more to avoid immediate relegation. They put up a tough fight against the Catalans on Thursday before losing 18-10 in Perpignan – even though their opponent Joe Chan missed the red card.

Hull Kingston Rovers’ Mitch Garbutt gets away from Warrington Wolves’ Jason Clark and Blake Austin in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Coral Challenge Cup. (Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Garbutt said: “It was good to play in the first French Super League derby and it was a great opportunity in that sense.

“But both teams were pretty bad. We missed a lot of chances and when they went down to 12 we had a real chance to win the game so it’s disappointing we didn’t. Both coaches were disappointed with the way their teams played. And I think both sets of players were the same.

“The game didn’t fit the occasion. Bugs slowed down the game and we didn’t play the way we wanted to play. Both teams had double-digit errors and it’s difficult to play when you do. We want to change that against KR.”

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