23 February 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SUGAR LAND, TX – The Toronto Arrows had tries from five different players in the club’s 44-27 road win over the Houston SaberCats on Friday evening.
The visiting Arrows raced out to a 27-10 halftime lead at Constellation Field, and repelled an early second-half comeback from the hosts to claim the bonus-point victory in Texas.
Toronto’s John Sheridan opened the scoring just five minutes into the match, with the winger stealing an errant Houston pass to race 50 metres uncontested for the score.
Following a Sam Malcolm penalty goal, No. 8 Kolby Francis continued his try-scoring streak in the 31st minute after barging his way across the whitewash following an attacking lineout; the 21-year-old has now scored a try in three consecutive matches.
After conceding a try to Houston prop Jamie Dever late in the first half, Toronto exploded for 10 points in the final minutes before the interval. Moments after Malcolm struck his second penalty goal of the half, captain Dan Moor determinedly pounced on a loose ball inside his own half to set up wing Avery Oitomen for the teenager’s third try of the season.
Toronto wasted little time returning to the scoresheet in the second half. Just two minutes after the restart, scrum-half Andrew Ferguson found a gap in Houston’s defensive line to scamper 70 metres down the pitch, and inside centre Spencer Jones crossed over before Houston’s defence had an opportunity to reset.
Backed by the urging of the home crowd, the SaberCats’ comeback bid kicked off through rapid-fire tries from wings Kelly Kolberg and Malacchi Esdale just six minutes apart. The hosts added another try from fly-half Sam Windsor shortly after a Malcolm penalty goal, reducing the Arrows’ lead to 10 points.
Toronto’s replacements did well to slow the match down and stymy Houston’s momentum in the late stages of the second half, and were rewarded when substitute No. 8 Andrew Wilson powered across in 75th minute to seal the victory.
Malcolm was perfect with the boot throughout the match, racking up 19 points with five conversions and three penalty goals.
“Our players have a lot to be proud about after that performance,” said Arrows Director of Rugby Chris Silverthorn. “To come out on short rest on this long road trip and put in a strong shift to earn that win was inspiring. Our guys dug deep and left it all on the pitch.”
Toronto had four league debutants in the match, with props Pat Lynott and Mike Smith and the Uruguayan duo of Gaston Mieres and Leandro Leivas all making their first appearances for the club.
“With 10 of our players unavailable for this match, we relied on our squad depth, and our guys rose to the occasion,” added Silverthorn. “We’re happy to get our second win in Texas, and we’ll be looking to continue banking points on this road trip before we get back home in April.”
The victory improves Toronto’s record to 2-2-0, and temporarily moves the expansion club to third in league standings with 12 points. Houston’s defeat drops the Texas outfit to seventh in the league table with a 1-2-0 record and six points.
Friday’s game was the fourth 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 six of the season with an away match against the Glendale Raptors on Saturday, Mar. 2.
Toronto Arrows Score Report
Tries: J. Sheridan (5), K. Francis (31), A. Oitomen (40), S. Jones (42), A. Wilson (75)
Conversions: S. Malcolm 5 (6, 32, 40, 43, 76)
Penalty Goals: S. Malcolm 3 (15, 38, 56)
Houston SaberCats Score Report
Tries: J. Dever (35), K. Kolberg (45), M. Esdale (51), S. Windsor (63)
Conversions: S. Windsor 2 (36, 64)
Penalty Goals: S. Windsor (27)
Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. Houston SaberCats
1. Rob Brouwer
2. Andrew Quattrin
3. Tom Dolezel
4. Josh Van Horne
5. Paul Ciulini
6. Peter Milazzo
7. Marcello Wainwright
8. Kolby Francis
9. Andrew Ferguson
10. Sam Malcolm
11. John Sheridan
12. Spencer Jones
13. Dan Moor (C)
14. Avery Oitomen
15. Jack Evans
16. Steven Ng
17. Pat Lynott
18. Mike Smith
19. Tom Van Horne
20. Andrew Wilson
21. Riley Di Nardo
22. Leandro Leivas
23. Gaston Mieres
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/
For more information, please contact:
Want to receive further information regarding Toronto Arrows tickets, merchandise, and latest news? To subscribe to the Arrows club newsletter, sign up below.
Header Photo Credit: Norma Salinas