18 February 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEATTLE, WA – The Toronto Arrows built up a 13-point lead mid-way through the second half, but it wasn’t enough to outlast the reigning Major League Rugby champions Seattle Seawolves in the first fixture between the two clubs.
The host scored 18 consecutive points in the second half to overcome the Arrows 35-30 at a sold-out Starfire Stadium on Sunday evening.
The two sides went blow-for-blow in a four-try opening half that featured three tied scorelines. Toronto flanker Marcello Wainwright opened the scoring when he crashed across in the in the 7th minute, but Seattle prop Olive Kilifi responded with a near-identical barging try just minutes later.
Arrows No. 8 Kolby Francis was next to cross over following an athletic pick and go from deep in Seattle territory, but his try was cancelled out via an impressive individual try from Seawolves flanker Eric Duechle, who evaded three defenders en route to his tally.
Toronto’s Sam Malcolm and Seattle’s Brock Staller exchanged late penalties to leave the score 17-apiece heading into the interval.
The Arrows were the more inspired side entering the second frame, with scrum-half Andrew Ferguson notching an early try before Malcolm struck two penalty goals to put the visitors ahead by 13 points.
In a match dictated by momentum, the pendulum swung back in Seattle’s favour in the latter stages of the game. Two rapid-fire tries from substitute centre Shalom Suniula and fly-half Ben Cima brought the hosts to within one point of Toronto’s lead, and two late penalty goals from Staller ensured the Seawolves’ come-from-behind victory.
“There were great spells for us during the game, but plenty of areas we’ll need to work on as we improve game-by-game,” said Arrows Director of Rugby Chris Silverthorn. “We’re happy to get an important bonus point out of the match, especially coming against last year’s champions, but we have our sights set on accruing wins on this long road trip. This will be a good learning experience for us, and we’ll grow from it.”
Toronto’s young matchday squad featured 21 Canadians for the third consecutive match, with the squad’s average age just 25 years old. Outside centre Guiseppe du Toit, prop Doug Wooldridge and No. 8 Andrew Wilson all made their MLR debuts.
The fixture also set a league record for most Canadians to appear in a single MLR match, with 24 featuring in the game.
“It’s this sort of match that is a great advertisement for the sport in North America,” added Silverthorn. “Two great clubs pushing each other to the brink, playing top-tier, entertaining rugby in front of a sold-sold-out crowd. We’re looking forward to another great clash in the rematch in Toronto this April.”
The defeat drops Toronto’s record to 1-2-0, and moves the expansion club to sixth in league standings with seven points. Seattle’s win lifts the Washington outfit to fourth in the league table with a 2-2-0 record and 11 points.
Sunday’s game was the third of eight consecutive away matches for Canada’s first professional rugby union team. Toronto’s extended road trip will be followed by eight consecutive home matches between April 7 and June 2 to close out the club’s regular season.
The Arrows enter round five of the season with an away match against the Houston SaberCats on Friday, Feb. 22.
Toronto Arrows Score Report
Tries: M. Wainwright (7), K. Francis (25), A. Ferguson (44)
Conversions: S. Malcolm 3 (8, 26, 45)
Penalty Goals: S. Malcolm 3 (32, 49, 52)
Seattle Seawolves Score Report
Tries: O. Kilifi (15), E. Duechel (29), S. Suniula (58), B. Cima (65)
Conversions: B. Staller 3 (16, 30, 59)
Penalty Goals: B. Staller 3 (39, 72, 77)
Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. Seattle Seawolves
1. Tom Dolezel
2. Andrew Quattrin
3. Morgan Mitchell
4. Mike Sheppard
5. Paul Ciulini
6. Peter Milazzo
7. Marcello Wainwright
8. Kolby Francis
9. Andrew Ferguson
10. Sam Malcolm
11. Dan Moor (C)
12. Guiseppe du Toit
13. Spencer Jones
14. Avery Oitomen
15. Shawn Windsor
16. Steven Ng
17. Doug Wooldridge
18. Cole Keith
19. Josh Van Horne
20. Andrew Wilson
21. Riley Di Nardo
22. John Sheridan
23. Jack Evans
Vice President & General Manager: Mark Winokur
Director of Rugby: Chris Silverthorn
Coaches: Aaron Carpenter, Cory Hector, Peter Smith
Performance Analyst: Rodin Lozada
Team Physicians: Dr. Anthony Dixon, Dr. Chris Gallimore, Dr. John Gillis
Athletic Therapist: Perry Fan
About Toronto Arrows Rugby Club:
The Toronto Arrows Rugby Club is Canada’s first professional rugby union team.
Competing in Major League Rugby, 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.
For more information, visit https://torontoarrows.com/
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Header Photo Credit: Mark Janzen / Aedelhard