Marcello Wainwright and Toronto Arrows teammates defeated the Utah Warriors 28-21, marking the club’s fifth consecutive win and third victory in the past eight days.
A late try from Spencer Jones secured the bonus-point win for Toronto, moving the club to third place in the Major League Rugby standings and back into a playoff position.
With swirling winds, steady rain and cool temperatures creating difficult playing conditions throughout the afternoon, Utah were the first side on the scoresheet after No. 8 Arthur Bergo crashed over the line two minutes into the match.
Following a long spell of back-and-forth play, the hosts drew level in the 21st minute when Morgan Mitchell bowled his way across and captain Sam Malcolm successfully kicked his first of three conversions on the day.
The Warriors regained the lead minutes later, with Jeremy Misailegalu plucking up a loose ball and racing in unimpeded shortly before Tim O’Malley booted his first of three penalty goals.
Toronto responded just moments before halftime. Following a big push from the Arrows’ scrum – the pack would wreak havoc on Utah throughout the match – Andrew Ferguson spun a deft pass to send in John Sheridan, pulling Toronto to within a point of the Warriors’ 15-14 lead heading into the interval.
The Arrows were awarded a penalty try midway through the second half after more strong work from their scrum, but two more penalty goals from O’Malley sent the teams to the final stages of the match all square at 21 points apiece.
After a Dan Moor clearance kick penned the Warriors within a few meters of their goal line, Toronto regained possession and strung together a series of effective phases that was capped off when Jones juked past two would-be tacklers to score the match-clinching try.
Despite being on their third match in eight days, the Arrows found an extra gear in the final minutes of the game; with Utah holding possession and looking for a gap, the Toronto defense held firm, eventually driving the Warriors back into their own in-goal area to end the match with a punctuation mark.
The outcome marks a season series sweep for Toronto over Utah. The Arrows defeated the Warriors 64-31 when the two clubs squared off in Utah on March 30th, with Toronto setting multiple Major League Rugby records in the process: most points scored by one team in a match (64) and most tries scored by one team in a match (9).
The victory improves Toronto’s record to 9-5-0, and puts the expansion club back into a playoff position with two matches remaining in its 2019 campaign. Since the Arrows began their homestand on April 7th, the club has taken 26 of a possible 30 points.