Arrows Earn Comprehensive Victory Over Top-Seeded Free Jacks
The Arrows saved their most impressive performance of the 2022 season to date for their most crucial match, rattling off 28 unanswered points to defeat the league-leading New England Free Jacks 33-18 on Thursday evening.
Andrew Quattrin, Guiseppe du Toit, Gaston Mieres and Matt Hood scored tries to earn the valuable bonus-point win for Toronto, while Sam Malcolm chipped in with three penalty goals and a conversion.
Coming off short rest to play their third match in 12 days, the Arrows’ victory at York Lions Stadium not only put an end to New England’s record-setting 10-game winning streak, but also kept the club’s playoff ambitions alive; Toronto ended the night just two points behind postseason running mates Rugby ATL.
New England began the match with greater zeal, looking every part the side with a 12-1 record when they jumped out to an 11-0 lead through a pair of John Poland penalty goals and a Mills Sanerivi try at the back of a driving maul.
Bending but not breaking, and buoyed by the determination that comes with knowing their season hung in the balance, the Arrows proceeded to kickstart a spirited turnaround ahead of the hydration break.
Opting to kick for the corner instead of taking a shot at goal within Malcolm’s range, Toronto began working out a solution to solve the Free Jacks’ stubborn defensive line. After several phases, they brought the ball inside the five-metre line, where Quattrin eyed a hole and dodged a pair of would-be tacklers to score. The conversion cut the lead to 11-7.
Quattrin went from jubilation to disbelief in short order; the hooker was issued a harsh yellow card less than two minutes after scoring his try when the TMO ruled the Holland Landing, Ont. native had committed a chop tackle worthy of a trip to the sin bin.
Despite playing a man short, the Arrows gritted their teeth, kept up the pressure, and gained the lead through a pair of rapid-fire Malcolm penalties.
The Kiwi added his 11th point of the half just as Quattrin was stepping back onto the pitch, kicking another penalty goal to put Toronto ahead 16-11 — a score that would hold heading into the interval.
Minutes after the restart, Sanerivi was sent to the bin for making contact with Mieres’ head on a dangerous tackle attempt. From the subsequent lineout, du Toit was first onto the overthrown ball, with the centre catching the defence flat-footed as he sped through the line to dot down between the uprights.
Mieres, who left the field of play to receive an HIA but was soon reinstated, wouldn’t have to wait much longer for his second try in as many matches. After another bout of New England ill-discipline ahead of the three-quarter mark, the Uruguayan raced down the touchline and dove for the left corner, contorting his body to stay in bounds as he acrobatically touched down in midair for the highlight-reel try.
New England responded on the on the other side of the hydration break, working though numerous phases to bring the ball close before substitute Quentin Newcomer barged over. Mitch Wilson’s conversion cut Toronto’s lead to 10.
The Free Jacks continued to probe in an attempt to further reduce the deficit, but the stingy Arrows defence held firm. Hood then iced the match with an insurance marker off a powerful Toronto scrum deep in New England territory; Ross Braude found the Aussie speedster in full flight, with the winger proceeding to mirror Mieres’ earlier score as he leapt horizontally to touch down in the right corner in the final stages of the match.
Fourth-placed Toronto (8-6; 40 points) enters Week 17 of the season with a crucial away clash against third-placed Rugby ATL (8-5; 42 points*) on Saturday, May 28. The 2022 edition of the Fire and Ice Cup will be contested at Silverbacks Park at 3 p.m. ET., with a stranglehold on a playoff position up for grabs.
* at time of publication
Toronto Arrows Stat Leaders:
Ball Carries: Guiseppe du Toit – 12
Carry Metres: Gaston Mieres – 116
Tackles Made: Lucas Rumball – 23
Offloads: Ronan Foley – 2
New England Free Jacks Stat Leaders:
Ball Carries: Wian Conradie – 23
Carry Metres: Wian Conradie – 143
Tackles Made: Joe Johnston – 23
Offloads: Wian Conradie, Le Roux Malan – 3
Toronto Arrows Score Report:
Tries: Andrew Quattrin (16), Guiseppe du Toit (45*), Gaston Mieres (56), Matt Hood (73)
Conversions: Sam Malcolm (17)
Penalty Goals: Sam Malcolm 3 (25, 29, 35)
* = seven-point try
New England Free Jacks Score Report:
Tries: Mills Sanerivi (8), Quentin Newcomer (63)
Conversions: Mitch Wilson (64)
Penalty Goals: John Poland (2, 12)
Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. New England Free Jacks:
- Cole Keith
- Andrew Quattrin
- Isaac Salmon
- Adrian Wadden
- Mike Sheppard
- Kyle Baillie
- Lucas Rumball
- Ronan Foley
- Ross Braude
- Sam Malcolm
- John Sheridan
- Guiseppe du Toit
- Ueta Tufuga
- Matt Hood
- Gaston Mieres
- Jack McRogers
- Lolani Faleiva
- Tyler Rowland
- Paul Ciulini
- Marcello Wainwright
- Sam Reimer
- Will Kelly
- Mitch Voralek
Header Photo Credit: Marcus Hobbs
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