Ontario Arrows Late Try Thwarts Utah Warriors Comeback

Utah Warriors & Ontario Arrows

The Utah Warriors faced the Ontario Arrows in their second pre-season match on Friday, April 6 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Last week, the Utah Warriors set domestic rugby attendance records with a crowd of 9,186, in their opening pre-season loss to the Glendale Raptors.

The Ontario Arrows opened their season on March 3 with a 28-28 draw against the Houston SaberCats and then lost on March 17 to Rugby United New York 36-19. The Arrows are playing a 2018 schedule against Major League Rugby opponents and against Boston Mystic Rugby, who is a possible future MLR team.

For those who attended the match of watched the match on YouTube on Utah Warriors TV, the match was one of two halves. The Ontario Arrows dominated the first half in terms of possession and in the set pieces, with the score 17-3 at the break. The Utah Warriors scored 17 unanswered points to take a 20-17 lead, before a try by Pat Lynott in the 73rd minute, gave the Arrows a 24-20 lead. Still, the Utah Warriors had a chance for the win at the end of the match, but a counter-ruck by the Arrows turned over the ball for the win.

Utah Warriors vs. Ontario Arrows Recap

Early penalties by the Utah Warriors gave the Ontario Arrows a chance to take the lead. After a Will Kelly penalty kick was missed in the 2nd minute, Kelly then slotted a kick 3 minutes later for a 3-0 lead.

The Utah Warriors answered back after a Jared Whippy penalty kick in the 7th minute went wide left. Four minutes later, Whippy tied the match after an Arrows penalty from entering the breakdown from the side.

The first try of the match started from an Arrows lineout 15-meters from the line. The Arrows mauled their way over the line with a try from captain Mike Sheppard. Will Kelly added the conversion and the Ontario Arrows led 10-3.

The Arrows had the next scoring opportunity until Kolby Francis lost the ball forward one-meter out and Whippy cleared. Several minutes later, the Arrows would attack from a scrum with Mitch Richardson adding the try. Kelly again was successful with the conversion for a 17-3 lead.

Both teams then had some back and forth play before the half ended.

The Utah Warriors were a different team in the second half, playing expansive rugby in integrating their backs. This resulted in a try by Paki Afu from close range. Jared Whippy added the conversion to narrow the lead to 17-10.

After a penalty by the Arrows for holding on in the breakdown, the Warriors Vanikolo ran and the team went through phases that were missing during the first half. Rob Brouwer was cited for a high tackle on Paki Afu and was sent to the bin. This proved to be decisive for the Warriors, as Fetu’u Vanikolo went down the wide channel passing several Arrows for a try in the corner. The lead was now within 2 points, 17-15.

After a Paul Lasike crash, Jared Whippy combined with his brother Josh Whippy, with the latter going in for a try to take a 20-17 lead.

Although the momentum during the second half favored the Utah Warriors, the Ontario Arrows made the most of a late opportunity. They used their scrum prowess to win the ball deep in Warriors territory and used forward picks which led to a try by Pat Lynott. Shawn Windsor then converted to a 24-20 Arrows lead.

The Utah Warriors had one last attack taking the ball inside the Arrows 22-meters, however, a counter-ruck turned the ball over and Alex Gliksten kicked the ball into touch for the victory.

After the match, Paul Lasike was named Utah Warriors Man of the Match.

The comeback by the Utah Warriors thrilled the crowd and should be something positive that the team will be able to take into their last pre-season match on April 20 against the Prairie Wolfpack. The Ontario Arrows still have three season matches remaining. They will play their first home match on Saturday, April 14 at 4:30 pm at York University Lions Stadium against Rugby United New York.

Utah Warriors & Ontario Arrows Squads

Utah Warriors: 1 Maika Hafoka 2 Peni Pahulu 3 Alex Tucci 4 Matt Jensen 5 Saia “Uhila (CC) 6 Kenny Scott 7 Win Elkington 8 Lance Williams 9 Don Pati 10 Jared Whippy 11 Fetu’u Vanikolo 12 Paul Lasike (CC) 13 Paki Afu 14 AJ Tu’ineau 15 Alekisa Kalougata 16 Ray Forrester 17 Angus Maclellan 18 John Martinez 19 Kory Olsen 20 Ben Nicholls 21 Josh Whippy 22 Havea Unufe 23 Tonata Lauti 24 Misitana ‘Afeaki + Head Coach Alf Daniels

Ontario Arrows: 1 Rob Brouwer 2 Andrew Quattrin 3 Tom Dolezel, 4 Mike Sheppard (c) 5 Paul Ciulini 6  Kolby Francis 7 Peter Milazzo 8 Andrew Wilson 9 Andrew Ferguson 10 Will Kelly 11 Josh Campbell 12 Jamie Leveridge 13 Mitch Richardson 14 Johnny Sheridan, 15 Aaron McLelland 16 Jack McRogers 17 Pat Lynott 18 Mike Smith 19 Tom van Horne 20 Marcello Wainwright 21 Alex Gliksten 22 Shawn Windsor 23 Kyle Lagasca + Head Coach Chris Silverthorn

Utah Warriors Pre-season

Utah Warriors 2018 Major League Rugby Season

  • April 29 at San Diego Legion
  • May 5 vs Glendale Raptors
  • May 11 vs Austin Elite Rugby
  • May 20 at Seattle Seawolves
  • May 26 at Houston SaberCats
  • June 2 at Austin Elite Rugby
  • June 16 vs New Orleans Gold
  • June 23 vs Houston SaberCats

Ontario Arrows Schedule

Other Articles

DJCoil Rugby articles by Doug Coil are also available on Facebook. Other Social Media sites to follow or subscribe include Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for interviews.

About Author

North American Rugby News With A USA Slant