The Houston SaberCats first home game did not go as planned as the Toronto Arrows defeated the SaberCats 44-27 on Friday, February 22 at Constellation Field.
With the loss, the SaberCats fall to 1-2. The team opened the season with a 21-20 win over Austin Elite Rugby and a 17-13 loss to the San Diego Legion. The Toronto Arrows record improved to 2-2. Previously they lost 36-31 to NOLA Gold, won 23-19 over Austin Elite Rugby and lost 35-30 to the Seattle Seawolves.
Next Saturday, Houston will host Rugby United New York and the Toronto Arrows travel to face the Glendale Raptors.
The Toronto Arrows capitalized on an intercepted pass by Johnny Sheridan and a conversion by Sam Malcolm to take a 7-0 lead. The Arrows then extended their lead to 10-0 after a Malcolm penalty kick.
The Houston SaberCats answered back with a Sam Windsor kick after the Arrows were penalized for not rolling away.
Kolby Francis then scored from close range and after Malcolm slotted the kick, the score was 17-3. A try by Pat O’Toole and a conversion by Windsor cut the lead to 17-10.
The SaberCats wish they could erase the final minute of play as Malcolm slotted a kick after the SaberCats were offsides. The Arrows then attacked from the restart with Avery Oitomen adding a try in the left corner and Malcolm adding the conversion to take a 27-10 lead into the break.
The defensive lapse to end the first half created an uphill battle for the SaberCats. This was especially true as the Arrows started the second half with an early try by Spencer Jones after receiving a Marcelo Wainwright offload. Malcolm again slotted the kick to push the lead to 34-10.
The SaberCats showed their resolve with a Zach Pangelinan break and an offload to Kelly Kolberg for a try in the right corner to cut the lead to 34-15. From the ensuing restart, the SaberCats attacked again with Pat O’Toole held up in-goal. From the 5-meter scrum, Houston spun the ball left to Osea Kolinisau, who then offloaded to Malacchi Esdale for a try.
The Arrows temporarily stopped the momentum with a Malcolm kick to push the lead to 37-20. A Connor Murphy pass to Sam Windsor had him step three defenders before adding a try and a conversion to cut the lead to 37-27.
In the closing minutes, Andrew Wilson barrelled over the line for a final try for a 44-27 win after Malcolm’s conversion.
The Man of the Match for Houston was Sam Windsor, while Andrew Quattrin won honors for Toronto.
Squads With Player Article Links & Match Preview
Houston SaberCats: 1 Mateo Sanguinetti 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Jamie Dever 4 Robert Meeson 5 Matt Trouville (C) 6 Luke Beauchamp 7 Chris Coyle 8 Ayron Schramm 9 Connor Murphy 10 Sam Windsor 11 Malacchi Esdale 12 Max Tacket 13 Osea Kolinisau 14 Kelly Kolberg 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Amro Gouda 17 Jake Turnbull 18 Charlie Connolly19 Chris Parker 20 Diego Magno 21 Alejandro Nieto 22 Chris Saint 23 Conor Mills + Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick
Toronto Arrows: 1 Rob Brouwer 2 AJ Quattrin 3 Tom Dolezel 4 Josh Van Horne 5 Paul Ciulini 6 Peter Milazzo 7 Marcello Wainwright 8 Kolby Francis 9 Andrew Ferguson 10 Sam Malcolm 11 Johnny Sheridan 12 Spencer Jones 13 Dan Moor (C) 14 Avery Oitomen 15 Jack Evans 16 Steven Ng 17 Pat Lynott 18 Mike Smith 19 Tom Van Horne 20 Andrew Wilson 21 Riley DiNardo 22 Leandro Leivas 23 Gastón Mieres+ Director of Rugby Chris Silverthorn