Sunday, March 4, 2018

Ontario, Houston Play To A Draw

Press Release

The Ontario Arrows made the 2,500-kilometre trek to Sugar Land, TX, looking for a statement performance against Major League Rugby’s Houston SaberCats, and after 80 minutes of thrilling, back-and-forth rugby at Constellation Field, the travelling Arrows achieved their goal.

The Arrows, Canada’s first privately-funded high-performance rugby team, played the SaberCats to a 28-28 draw in their season-opening match on Mar. 3, 2018.

The scoreline remained close throughout the entirety of the match, with neither side building a lead of more than eight points throughout the ping-pong affair.

Crashing first-half tries from captain Mike Sheppard and hooker Andrew Quattrin brought the Arrows to within one point of the hosts, 18-17, at the halftime whistle.

A diving try from wing John Sheridan put the Arrows ahead early in the second half, but after conceding two SaberCats tries throughout a six-minute span in the late stages of the match, Ontario required a last-minute 40-metre penalty goal from 20-year-old substitute Will Kelly to pull the match level at 28 points apiece.

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“I was very impressed with what I saw from our team,” said Arrows head coach Chris Silverthorn, following the match. “We’re down here for our first game of the year, and most of our guys haven’t played a game of rugby in five months coming out of our off-season. With the energy and the effort that was shown, we are over the moon with the shift that we put in against this MLR side.”

“We came down here looking for a competitive, physical match, and it was a great game,” said Arrows captain Sheppard. “We knew Houston would be a big, physical side, and we started the game ready to go at each other. We battled for every single inch, and every score was hard-fought. We came here ready to show that we’re at the same level as these new professional sides, and I think we did just that.”

“We fielded a very young side for our opener, with the majority of our players still in university,” added Silverthorn. “We’re a team that’s still learning, and with our veterans like Shep, Rob, and Tom, who helped carry the weight, we’re moving in the right direction. Our opener provided many great lessons that we’ll take with us as we continue our inaugural season. We couldn’t be happier with the way we’re headed, and we’re going to go a long way from here.”

The Arrows will resume their six-match spring season on Mar. 17, when Ontario travels to New York for a St. Patrick’s Day fixture against the newly-formed Rugby United New York.

Ontario Arrows Score Report

Tries: M. Sheppard (26), A. Quattrin (40), J. Sheridan (42)
Conversions: S. Windsor 2 (27, 40)
Penalties: S. Windsor 2 (10, 60), W. Kelly (79)

Houston SaberCats Score Report

Tries: M. Trouville (3), Z. Pangelinan (34), J. Turnbull (65), J. Vici (71)
Conversions: S. Windsor (35)
Penalties: S. Windsor 2 (24, 31)

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