REGAN Grace capped his return to the fold with a 40-metre interception try as Saints atoned for spring’s slip up in Toulouse to move four points clear at the Super League summit.

There were no signs of ring-rust from the Welsh flier despite having played just once this term – in the Challenge Cup game up at Whitehaven – with the first half of 2022 derailed by bicep and hamstring issues.

Grace’s first carries from deep were as swift and committed as ever, with his 20-metre return from deep being instrumental in setting up Konrad Hurrell’s try that gave Saints a 14-2 lead.

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Will Hopoate, another returnee, slotted in at full back as coach Kristian Woolf run the rule over the 1,6 and 7 that he hopes Saints can cement in for the remainder of the season after an injury-hit late spring.

There were some positive signs from each of the triumvirate in their roles – and collectively it will become smoother the longer they play as a combination.

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Jack Welsby seemed to relish getting his hands on the ball more, and he was instrumental in getting the ball rolling by taking the ball to the line, committing two defenders before sending Morgan Knowles roaring 45-metres to the line.

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His left boot was charged with exiting a number of Saints sets – a role he shared with Jonny Lomax and, later on, James Roby.

The second saw Hopoate link up from full back, taking Lomax’s pass to send Tommy Makinson over in the corner for a straightforward score.

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Even before Hurrell's 45-metre finish for their third, Saints had looked in complete control – and there were strong performances from Curtis Sironen in the back row on both sides of the ball.

In defence the big Australian’s first contact is very solid and opposing ball carriers know that they have been hit.

With the ball he offered threat on the edge, repeatedly bumping off would be defenders.

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And of course there was another outstanding skipper’s knock from James Roby on the day he joined Kevin Sinfield at the top of the Super League appearances leaderboard on 454.

Roby was everywhere, repeatedly making good yards from dummy half to get the French outfit back-pedalling. His vision with the range of passes was from its usual top drawer – including one that led to a score from Hurrell that was bizarrely chalked off for a forward pass.

Significantly Roby was missing the last time Saints lost in Toulouse – and his contribution made sure they were not making the same mistake twice against the relegation-haunted outfit.

Even when interchange 9 Joey Lussick came on, Roby switched to 13 where he roved and interjected – deploying his kicking game to good effect.

For all the talk of retirement, Roby is not a player whose career looks like it is heading for the finishing line.

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Saints always looked on top, even when Toulouse responded with a Harrison Hansen try to close it to one score.

What was pleasing was the way in which they kept their heads and composure after having what appeared to be two perfectly good tries chalked off within a short spell – with another Hurrell effort joining the aforementioned Makinson try in being discounted.

It was third time lucky when, from a scrum, Lomax sent Welsby on an arcing run to the line.

And with the rain sheeting down, Grace sauntered over to make absolutely certain and render Chris Hankinson’s late response a mere consolation.

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Toulouse Olympique: Ashall-Bott; Russell, Hankinson, Jussuame, Bergal; Albert, Norman; Navarette, Marion, Alvaro, Peyroux, Dixon, Puech. Subs: Cunningham, Hansen, Sangare, Paulo.

Tries: Hansen (44), Hankinson (69).

Goals: Chris Hankinson (3).

Saints: Hopoate; Makinson, Hurrell, Mata’utia, Grace; Welsby, Lomax: Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Batchelor, Sironen, Knowles. Subs: Lussick, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Paasi, Bell.

Tries: Knowles (9), Makinson (16), Hurrell (33), Welsby (61), Grace (65) Goals: Makinson (4).

Star man: Curtis Sironen.