Marcello Wainwright and his Toronto Arrows teammates accrued a valuable away bonus point in the club’s 24-21 loss against Rugby United New York.
New York earned the comeback win on the heels of a last-second Try at MCU Park.
Toronto had the early momentum in the match, with the visiting side jumping out to an early 6-0 lead through two penalty goals from fly-half Sam Malcolm, the first was struck with gusto from nearly 50 meters out, while the second came as a chip shot just outside New York’s 22.
The hosts responded minutes later on their first spell of possession in Toronto territory, with hooker Dylan Fawsitt scoring off a rolling maul from a lineout.
The Arrows answered back through scrum-half Andrew Ferguson, who capitalized on a lengthy period of sustained pressure when he found a gap in New York’s defensive line to cross over.
New York added its second try of the match on the final play of the first half, scoring a carbon copy of its first. Again, it was Fawsitt crossing over following a driving maul off a lineout to put the hosts ahead 12-11 heading into the interval.
Similar to the first half, Toronto were the more inspired side out of the gates at the restart. The visitors were first on the scoreboard through a piercing run from Guiseppe du Toit six minutes into the second half, who was set up by a deft popped pass from Malcolm.
The Arrows appeared to have scored again in the 52nd minute after a well-worked give-and-go between Gaston Mieres and Kolby Francis sprung the Uruguayan, but the referee called the try back after adjudging one of the passes to be forward. The drive still resulted in points for Toronto, as Malcolm kicked his third penalty goal minutes later to increase Toronto’s lead to nine points.
The final 15 minutes of the match featured consistent pressure from the home side, forcing the Arrows into extended periods of try-line stands as the visitors looked to hold on to their lead.
After multiple phases inside Toronto’s 5m area, New York lock Nate Brakeley broke the levee in the 70th minute to reduce the deficit to four points.
Going right back to work deep in Arrows territory, flanker John Quill completed New York’s comeback with a match-winning try on the final play of the game.
“This was a tough one for us to swallow,” said Arrows Director of Rugby Chris Silverthorn. “We dictated the pace of play for the bulk of the game, but lost our composure in the late stages of the match, and that’s when it counted the most. We had a lot of impressive periods of play throughout the game, and earning a road bonus point is certainly important, but we came here looking for the win, and to fall just short is a tough result.”
Entering the match on just four days’ rest, Silverthorn praised his side’s workrate.
“It’s been a grueling travel schedule for us this week, having gone from San Diego to Toronto to New York all in just a few days, and our guys left it all on the pitch,” added Silverthorn. “We’ll have a well-deserved break coming into the bye week to give our players an opportunity to recover both physically and mentally, and then shift our focus to our final road game against Utah at the end of the month.”
The defeat drops Toronto’s record to 3-4-0, and keeps the expansion club at sixth in league standings with 17 points. New York’s win vaults the fellow league newcomers to the top of the table with a 5-1-0 record and 23 points.