7 April 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ONTARIO ARROWS EARN INAUGURAL VICTORY WITH COMEBACK PERFORMANCE OVER MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY SIDE UTAH WARRIORS
(SANDY, UT) – The Ontario Arrows clinched an important milestone in the club’s young history on Friday evening, mounting a late comeback to defeat Major League Rugby side Utah Warriors 24-20 to secure the team’s first-ever victory.
In a match played in front of 4,967 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium, the travelling Arrows burst out of the gates with dominant spells of possession and aggressive, physical play. Fly-half Will Kelly opened the scoring with an early penalty goal, and after Utah drew level just minutes later, tries from captain Mike Sheppard and centre Mitch Richardson put the visitors ahead 17-3 at the interval.
The second half featured a rejuvenated Warriors side, sparked when centre Paki Afu powered over six minutes after the restart. Following a yellow card to Arrows prop Rob Brouwer mid-way through the second frame, Utah capitalized with the man advantage, adding two additional tries in a six-minute span to take their first lead of the match, 20-17.
Back at full strength, the Arrows required both a late crashing try from substitute Pat Lynott scored eight minutes from the final whistle and a stalwart defensive stand in the final moments of the match to seal the iconic victory.
“We’re very proud to get that first win under our belt,” said Arrows head coach Chris Silverthorn, following the match. “The end result was a little closer than many of us would have liked after the strong first-half performance we put in, but we’ll savour this victory. This is a young side, and for our players to keep their composure in front of 5,000 fans showed a great level of professionalism. We’ll build on this performance ahead of next week’s home opener against Rugby United New York.”
“This match was a tough test, but we passed it,” said Arrows captain Sheppard. “We were pushed to the brink, and we had to show strong resolve to stop their momentum. We did a lot of things well, but there’s plenty to improve upon, too. We’ll be working hard this week ahead of our game against New York, and we’ll be up to the task. We’re all looking forward to our first chance to play on home soil.”
With a first-ever win now secured, the Arrows are shifting their focus to their first-ever home match next week. The club will resume its six-match spring season on Saturday, Apr. 14 (4:30 p.m. kickoff), when Ontario hosts Rugby United New York at York Lions Stadium.
Tickets to Ontario’s home opener in Toronto can be purchased for a discounted rate online, as well as at the gate on match day.
Ontario Arrows Score Report
Tries: M. Sheppard (15), M. Richardson (27), P. Lynott (72)
Conversions: W. Kelly 2 (16, 28), S. Windsor (73)
Penalties: W. Kelly (5)
Utah Warriors Score Report
Tries: P. Afu (46), F. Vainikolo (58), Jo. Whippy (62)
Conversions: Ja. Whippy (47)
Penalties: Ja. Whippy (11)
Ontario Arrows Lineup vs. Utah Warriors
1. Rob Brouwer
2. Andrew Quattrin
3. Tom Dolezel
4. Mike Sheppard (C)
5. Paul Ciulini
6. Kolby Francis
7. Peter Milazzo
8. Andrew Wilson
9. Andrew Ferguson
10. Will Kelly
11. Josh Campbell
12. Jamie Leveridge
13. Mitch Richardson
14. John Sheridan
15. Aaron McLelland
16. Jack McRogers
17. Pat Lynott
18. Mike Smith
19. Tom Van Horne
20. Marcello Wainwright
21. Alex Gliksten
22. Kyle Lagasca
23. Shawn Windsor
Head Coach: Chris Silverthorn
Assistant Coaches: David Butcher, Aaron Carpenter
General Manager: Mark Winokur
Performance Analyst: Rodin Lozada
Athletic Therapist: Chris Kelly
Team Doctor: Dr. John Gillis
About Ontario Arrows Rugby Club:
The Ontario Arrows Rugby Club is Canada’s first privately-funded high-performance rugby team.
The team is equipped to compete against top-tier North American club teams, providing emerging Canadian talent with enhanced and more frequent opportunities to hone their skills at an elite level.