11 March 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAN DIEGO, CA – The Toronto Arrows snapped the San Diego Legion’s four-game winning streak in convincing fashion on Sunday evening, stunning their hosts with a comeback 27-20 road victory.
Trailing by as many as 17 points early in the second half, the visiting Arrows stormed back by scoring 24 unanswered points against their California hosts to earn a statement win at Torero Stadium.
San Diego held the bulk of possession and territory in the first half, and set the tone when debutant No. 8 Jordan Manihera opened the scoring with a slicing try less than a minute into the match.
A Sam Malcolm penalty goal cut into San Diego’s early lead, but Legion flanker Psalm Wooching responded minutes later by barging across to double the home side’s try tally just before the first-half hydration break.
San Diego capped off a dominant first-half performance when captain Joe Pietersen added a penalty at the stroke of halftime, giving the hosts a 14-point advantage heading into the break.
The Legion continued their probing play coming out of the interval, and tacked on three additional points via a drop goal from Pietersen three minutes into the second frame.
Down but not out, Arrows wing Avery Oitomen kicked off the comeback in the 51st minute with his first of two tries on the evening. Outside centre Spencer Jones set up the speeding Oitomen with pass that beckoned the important line break, with the winger then juking a would-be tackle from Legion fullback Kyle Rogers to give the travelling Arrows a shot of confidence.
The 19-year-old completed his brace just three minutes later. After a trio of Toronto forwards were stymied at goal line, the ball was spun out to Oitomen, who found enough space to dive in for his second try.
Just minutes later, Arrows hooker Andrew Quattrin found a hole in San Diego’s defensive ranks to get within inches of the goal line, and lock Mike Sheppard drove the rest of the way to give Toronto its first lead of the match.
Malcolm, who was perfect with the boot throughout the night, added a penalty goal in the 71st minute to put the Arrows ahead by seven points.
With the victory far from guaranteed, Toronto mounted a strong defensive stand in the final minutes of the match, and forced two crucial turnovers to seal the memorable win.
“This match came down to resolve,” said Arrows Director of Rugby Chris Silverthorn. “When our backs were up against the wall, our guys refused to concede. Our players have a lot be proud of following that performance, and showed tremendous character to not only regain the lead against a tough side, but also to secure it.”
Toronto had several players unavailable for the match, including seven away on international duty representing Canada and Uruguay at the Americas Rugby Championship over the weekend.
“With the Americas Rugby Championship now over, we’ll have a bunch of our international players back in the mix,” added Silverthorn. “This week will mark the first time all season where we’ll have our entire roster together under one roof. I expect the training sessions to be high-tempo with guys vying for matchday spots, and that internal competition will make us stronger.”
The victory lifts Toronto’s record to 3-3-0, but the expansion club remains at sixth in league standings despite a bump to 16 points. San Diego’s bonus-point loss keeps the California outfit atop the Arrows, with the Legion now fourth in the league table with a 4-2-0 record and 19 points.
Sunday’s game was the sixth 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 eight of the season with an away match against fellow expansion club Rugby United New York on Friday, Mar. 15.
Toronto Arrows Score Report
Tries: A. Oitomen 2 (51, 54), M. Sheppard (64)
Conversions: S. Malcolm 3 (52, 55, 65)
Penalty Goals: S. Malcolm 2 (14, 71)
San Diego Legion Score Report
Tries: J. Manihera (1), P. Wooching (18)
Conversions: J. Pietersen 2 (2, 19)
Penalty Goals: J. Pietersen (40)
Drop Goals: J. Pietersen (43)
Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. San Diego Legion
1. Rob Brouwer
2. Andrew Quattrin
3. Morgan Mitchell
4. Mike Sheppard
5. Paul Ciulini
6. Peter Milazzo
7. Marcello Wainwright
8. Jack Nay
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. Pat Lynott
18. Tom Dolezel
19. Tom Van Horne
20. Kolby Francis
21. Riley Di Nardo
22. Jamie Leveridge
23. John Sheridan
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