Toronto Arrows Sink Austin with Late Try to Earn First MLR Win
9 February 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROUND ROCK, TX – It’s one for the history books.
The Toronto Arrows earned their first Major League Rugby victory on Friday evening, using a late try from Dan Moor to produce a 23-19 win over Austin Elite Rugby in the Texas capital.
Under chilly, soggy conditions at Dell Diamond, it was the visiting Arrows who opened the scoring in the 16th minute: Spencer Jones found a hole in Austin’s defensive line, and after drawing attention from multiple would-be tacklers, the centre deftly set up wing Avery Oitomen for a try in the corner, marking the teenager’s second MLR try in as many games.
Following an Austin penalty goal in the 21st minute, the hosts received a boost before halftime through an impressive solo try from scrum-half Marcelo Torrealba, who scampered 45 metres untouched before crossing over. With the conversion, Austin entered the interval with a 10-5 lead.
The seesaw battle would continue into the second half, with both sides trading early penalty goals before Toronto No. 8 Kolby Francis crashed over in the 51st minute to restore the Arrows’ lead.
Timothee Guillimin and Sam Malcolm traded penalty goals once again, and Austin replacement scrum-half Mickael Romera kicked a goal of his own to give the hosts a one-point lead in the 65th minute.
With five minutes remaining in the match, Toronto snatched the lead through a memorable individual effort from Moor. Deep inside Arrows territory, Jones cleared the ball with a kick into the Elite’s 22 and Austin’s subsequent clearance attempt was blocked by a determined Moor. The Arrows captain was first to react, jumping on the loose ball in the host’s in-goal area for a try against the pace of play.
With the victory far from guaranteed, Toronto put up a strong defensive stand in the final minutes of the match, and forced a crucial turnover to seal the club’s inaugural MLR win.
“You could see it on our players’ faces after the final whistle blew just how much that win meant to everyone at the club,” said Arrows Director of Rugby Chris Silverthorn. “It was a back-and-forth game in tough conditions, and it was hard work that got us the points. We’re thrilled to have our first MLR win in the books.”
Toronto’s young matchday squad featured 21 Canadians, with the average age of the 23 players coming in at just 24 years old. Nine roster players were unavailable to play in Friday’s match due to international commitments with Canada (seven players) and Uruguay (two players) at the Americas Rugby Championship.
“We had a smaller pool of players to select from for Friday’s game, but the effort that our players put in speaks to our squad depth,” added Silverthorn. “I was impressed with how our team battled adversity and put in a full 80-minute shift. We’ll have some areas we’ll look to tighten up before we head to Seattle, but our players should be proud. It’s a night to remember.”
The victory improves Toronto’s record to 1-1-0, and moves the expansion club to second in league standings with six points. Austin’s loss keeps the Texas outfit at the bottom of the league table with a 0-3-0 record and two points.
Friday’s game was the second 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 four of the season with an away match against the defending champions Seattle Seawolves on Sunday, Feb. 17.
Toronto Arrows Score Report
Tries: A. Oitomen (16), K. Francis (51), Dan Moor (75)
Conversions: S. Malcolm (52)
Penalty Goals: S. Malcolm (42, 54)
Austin Elite Rugby Score Report
Tries: M. Torrealba (39)
Conversions: T. Guillimin (40)
Penalty Goals: T. Guillimin 3 (21, 46, 57), M. Romera (65)
Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. Austin Elite Rugby
1. Rob Brouwer
2. Andrew Quattrin
3. Morgan Mitchell
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. Shawn Windsor
16. Steven Ng
17. Pat Lynott
18. Tom Dolezel
19. Tom Van Horne
20. Mike Smith
21. Riley Di Nardo
22. Mitch Richardson
23. Jack Evans
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: Norma Salinas
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