21 April 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO, ON – It’s another match for the record books.
The Toronto Arrows defeated the Houston SaberCats 35-21 on Sunday afternoon, marking the club’s first Major League Rugby home victory.
The Arrows raced out to an early 21-0 lead at York Alumni Stadium, and while the hosts allowed the SaberCats to draw level early in the second half, two late tries sealed the iconic victory for Toronto.
No. 8 Kolby Francis started the Arrows’ early-match scoring spree in the 4th minute when he dotted down following a successful maul. Theo Sauder doubled Toronto’s lead just minutes later, with the fullback gliding through Houston’s defensive line to score a try on his first start for the club.
Andrew Quattrin notched Toronto’s third try in the 29th minute, completing another successful maul generated by the Arrows forward pack.
After spending the lion’s share of the opening 35 minutes inside their own territory, the SaberCats sprang to life in the dying stages of the first frame. The visitors began to turn the tide with late first-half tries from fullback Zach Pangelinan and hooker Pat O’Toole, cutting Toronto’s lead to seven points entering the interval.
Houston’s burst of momentum spilled over into the second half, propelling the SaberCats to tie the match at 21 points apiece after their forwards earned a penalty try off the scrum just minutes after kickoff.
After a long spell of back-and-forth play, lock Mike Sheppard broke the deadlock in the 58th minute when he overpowered Houston’s defensive efforts and muscled the ball across the goal line.
With the bonus point locked in, substitute Kainoa Lloyd then provided Toronto with an insurance marker in the late stages of the half. After deftly plucking up a loose ball inside his own half, the wing raced 60 metres unimpeded to score underneath the posts to secure all five posts for the hosts.
“All 23 of our players put in a strong shift this afternoon,” said Arrows Director of Rugby Chris Silverthorn. “While there will be plenty of areas to tighten up coming out of this game, we looked dangerous for large portions of it, and were rewarded with tries from five different players. We entered this match looking to take maximum points and deliver a win for our home fans, and we got the job done.”
Sunday’s match marks the second time Toronto has defeated Houston this year; the Arrows earned a bonus-point victory (44-27) over the SaberCats in Texas on Feb. 22, 2019.
“We’re pleased with the win, but we’ll be getting right back to work on Monday,” added Silverthorn. “This next stretch of games — especially the next two against Seattle and San Diego — will likely determine if we’ll be playoff bound this year. Our home fans have been fantastic at giving us a boost these past two weeks, and we’ll be working hard to give them plenty more to cheer about as we continue through this homestand.”
The bonus-point victory improves Toronto’s record to 5-5-0, though the expansion club remains in sixth position in league standings with 29 points. Houston’s loss keeps the Texas outfit rooted in seventh with a 2-8-0 record and 11 points.
The Arrows enter round 14 of the season with a home match against the Seattle Seawolves (7-3-0) on Sunday, Apr. 28. Match tickets can be purchased at torontoarrows.com/tickets.
Toronto Arrows Score Report
Tries: K. Francis (4), T. Sauder (18), A. Quattrin (29), M. Sheppard (52), K. Lloyd (67)
Conversions: S. Malcolm 3 (5, 19, 30), G. du Toit 2 (53, 68)
Houston SaberCats Score Report
Tries: Z. Pangelinan (35), P. O’Toole (40), Penalty Try (45)
Conversions: S. Windsor 2 (36, 40)
Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. Houston SaberCats
1. Rob Brouwer // Lindsay
2. Andrew Quattrin // Aurora Barbarians
3. Cole Keith // Belleisle Rovers
4. Mike Sheppard // Stoney Creek Camels
5. Kolby Francis // Brantford Harlequins
6. Lucas Rumball (C) // Balmy Beach
7. Peter Milazzo // Toronto Scottish
8. Marcello Wainwright // Toronto Scottish
9. Jamie Mackenzie // Balmy Beach
10. Sam Malcolm // Manawatu Turbos (New Zealand)
11. Leandro Leivas // Old Christians (Uruguay)
12. Guiseppe du Toit // UVic Vikes
13. Dan Moor (C) // Balmy Beach
14. Avery Oitomen // Oakville Crusaders
15. Theo Sauder // UBC Thunderbirds
16. Steven Ng // Barrhaven Scottish
17. Pat Lynott // Bytown Blues
18. Morgan Mitchell // Southland Stags (New Zealand)
19. Tom Van Horne // Brantford Harlequins
20. John Moonlight // Ajax Wanderers
21. Riley Di Nardo // Toronto Scottish
22. Kainoa Lloyd // Mississauga Blues
23. Shawn Windsor // Stoney Creek Camels
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: José Romelo Lagman