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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Ontario Arrows Defeat Utah Warriors

Press Release

The Ontario Arrows clinched an important milestone in the club’s young history on Friday evening, mounting a late comeback to defeat Major League Rugby side Utah Warriors 24-20 to secure the team’s first-ever victory.

In a match played in front of 4,967 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium, the travelling Arrows burst out of the gates with dominant spells of possession and aggressive, physical play. Fly-half Will Kelly opened the scoring with an early penalty goal, and after Utah drew level just minutes later, tries from captain Mike Sheppard and centre Mitch Richardson put the visitors ahead 17-3 at the interval.

The second half featured a rejuvenated Warriors side, sparked when centre Paki Afu powered over six minutes after the restart. Following a yellow card to Arrows prop Rob Brouwer mid-way through the second frame, Utah capitalized with the man advantage, adding two additional tries in a six-minute span to take their first lead of the match, 20-17.

Take the jump to read more.

Back at full strength, the Arrows required both a late crashing try from substitute Pat Lynott scored eight minutes from the final whistle and a stalwart defensive stand in the final moments of the match to seal the iconic victory.

“We’re very proud to get that first win under our belt,” said Arrows head coach Chris Silverthorn, following the match. “The end result was a little closer than many of us would have liked after the strong first-half performance we put in, but we’ll savour this victory. This is a young side, and for our players to keep their composure in front of 5,000 fans showed a great level of professionalism. We’ll build on this performance ahead of next week’s home opener against Rugby United New York.”

“This match was a tough test, but we passed it,” said Arrows captain Sheppard. “We were pushed to the brink, and we had to show strong resolve to stop their momentum. We did a lot of things well, but there’s plenty to improve upon, too. We’ll be working hard this week ahead of our game against New York, and we’ll be up to the task. We’re all looking forward to our first chance to play on home soil.”

With a first-ever win now secured, the Arrows are shifting their focus to their first-ever home match next week. The club will resume its six-match spring season on Saturday, Apr. 14 (4:30 p.m. kickoff), when Ontario hosts Rugby United New Yorkat York Lions Stadium.

Ontario Arrows Score Report

Tries: M. Sheppard (15), M. Richardson (27), P. Lynott (72)
Conversions: W. Kelly 2 (16, 28), S. Windsor (73)
Penalties: W. Kelly (5)

Utah Warriors Score Report

Tries: P. Afu (46), F. Vainikolo (58), Jo. Whippy (62)
Conversions: Ja. Whippy (47)
Penalties: Ja. Whippy (11)

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