Comeback Bid Falls Short Against New York
Rugby United New York claimed a narrow 31-24 win over the squad-depleted Toronto Arrows at Lupo Family Field on Saturday afternoon. With high humidity and hot temperatures setting the stage for a chippy clash, the visitors from the Empire State were able to stave off a spirited second-half comeback from the nomadic Canadian outfit.
Toronto was first on the board via an early penalty from the boot of Will Kelly, but New York responded minutes later through the side’s patented and potent attacking lineout. With their driving maul in top gear, RUNY flanker Hanco Germishuys followed his teammates across the whitewash to dot down his first of two tries on the day.
The visitors were again probing deep in Arrows territory in search of their second score, but quick line speed from Toronto’s backs forced a New York handling error. Fullback Tayler Adams plucked up the loose ball, charged forward, sucked in a tackler, and sprung Joaquin Tuculet for the calm finish. Kelly added the conversion to put Toronto ahead.
With New York quickly back on the front foot, wing Apenisa Cakaubalavu found space along the left touchline and crossed over, but spilled the ball forward before attempting to ground it. The referee and AR conferred moments later, and despite both seemingly being in position to have noticed the infraction, erroneously awarded the phantom try.
Now holding the momentum, RUNY added two rapid-fire tries after the hydration break. Fullback Ben Foden barged over for the first, and then flanker Benjamin Bonasso sped away on a 50-metre run for a score under the posts two minutes later.
The Arrows pulled one back just ahead of the interval. With Toronto established deep in New York’s end, lock Mike Sheppard out-muscled a pair of defenders and extended himself over the line; the automatic seven-pointer reduced New York’s lead to seven.
The second half started with Germishuys scoring a near-identical try to his first, with the American international again adding the exclamation point to an effective New York maul off an attacking lineout.
Germishuys’ try appeared to have jolted the Arrows to life, with the home designates turning a corner to become the more dangerous of the two sides for the remainder of the match.
Tough errors and infringement derailed several promising forays into RUNY territory, Toronto was finally rewarded ahead of the second hydration break. On his season debut, Sam Malcolm served up a pass to Tuculet along the left touchline. The Argentine motored towards the goal line, and just before appearing to have run out of space, the wing executed a perfect, one-handed, arcing offload over the would-be tackler’s head into the waiting arms of Mitch Richardson. The centre coolly touched down, marking his second try in the past three games, before Kelly added the extras.
The Arrows kept up the pressure throughout the final quarter of the match, but New York’s defence held firm. One final chance came when Adrian Wadden charged down a clearance attempt, but the ball cruelling bounced beyond the dead ball line before the lock could get his outstretched arms to it.
No. 8 Ronan Foley led the team in tackles (12) and carry metres (56) in his first start, while substitutes Joe Tomlinson, Ollie Nott, and Kobe Faust made their debuts for the club. Faust, at 19 years, one month, and 25 days, became the youngest player to ever feature in a Major League Rugby match when he stepped on the pitch in the 65th minute.
Toronto enters Week 16 of the 2021 season with a ‘home’ clash with Old Glory DC (4-8-1; 27 points) on Sunday, July 4 in Atlanta. The Arrows defeated Old Glory in the reverse fixture earlier this season, claiming a 40-19 victory in Leesburg, VA back in Week 3.
Toronto Arrows Stat Leaders
Ball Carries: T. de la Vega – 17
Carry Metres: R. Foley – 56
Tackles Made: R. Foley – 12
Offloads: T. de la Vega – 3
Rugby United New York Stat Leaders
Ball Carries: H. Germishuys – 12
Carry Metres: B. Bonasso – 91
Tackles Made: H. Germishuys – 12
Offloads: B. Foden – 4
Toronto Arrows Score Report
Tries: J. Tuculet (16), M. Sheppard (40*), M. Richardson (60)
Conversions: W. Kelly 2 (17, 61)
Penalty Goals: W. Kelly 1 (5)
* = seven-point try
Rugby United New York Score Report
Tries: H. Germishuys 2 (10, 45), A. Cakaubalavu (19), B. Foden (33), B. Bonasso (35*)
Conversions: H. Bennett 2 (34, 46)
* = seven-point try
Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. Rugby United New York
- Rob Brouwer
- Jack McRogers
- Tyler Rowland
- Adrian Wadden
- Mike Sheppard
- Mason Flesch
- Tomas de la Vega
- Ronan Foley
- Jason Higgins
- Will Kelly
- John Sheridan
- Guiseppe du Toit (C)
- Mitch Richardson
- Joaquin Tuculet
- Tayler Adams
- Joe Tomlinson
- Cole Keith
- Gaston Cortes
- Paul Ciulini
- Ollie Nott
- Kobe Faust
- Andrew Ferguson
- Sam Malcolm
Header Photo Credit: Ben Weitz
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