The match between the Toronto Arrows and the Houston SaberCats on February 16 at Sam Boyd Stadium came down to the final play with the SaberCats 14 man maul going into in-goal. Referee Jamie Nutbrown ruled that the ball was held up and the Arrows held on for a 27-22 win.
Toronto picked up four points with the win to push their record to 2-0. They have 9 points and are in first place in the Eastern Conference. The Houston SaberCats record is 1-1 and they have 5 points as the picked up a losing bonus point. They are in second place in the Western Conference.
Last week, the Arrows beat the Austin Gilgronis and the Houston SaberCats won against the Colorado Raptors.
Next for both teams see the SaberCats hosting Old Glory DC on Saturday, February 22, while Toronto travels to Seattle for the Seawolves home opener that same day.
Toronto Arrows vs Houston SaberCats Match Recap
The Toronto Arrows controlled much of the beginning of the match with Sam Malcolm slotting an early penalty goal.
They added a try by Guiseppe Du Toit who took an inside track after a lineout offload by Tomy de la Vega. Malcolm added the extras to lead 10-0. Following a break by Jonny Sheridan, Manuel Diana dotted down and after Malcolm’s kick, the Arrows led 17-0 in the 16th minute.
Houston’s turn came next after a grub kick by Sam Windsor was claimed by captain De Wet Roos on the burst, and he finished with a try to cut the lead to 17-5.
Discipline impacted the SaberCats as outside center Tiaan Loots was sent to the bin for a late tackle of Jonny Sheridan. The Arrows appeared poised to capitalize, however, Zach Pangelinan drove Tayler Adams into touch and gave Houston a lineout 5-meters in defense. This allowed Windsor to clear.
An Arrows poach at the breakdown led to quick hands wide and Dan Moor raced down the wider channel and grounded under the posts, allowing for an easy conversion by Malcolm. The Arrows took a 24-5 lead into the break.
During the first half, Toronto had the edge in set-piece play. That was readily apparent with the lineout throws being off-target.
Toronto appeared to escape Tomy De La Vega being sent to the bin when his arm struck Kyle Breytenbach in the chin. Instead, a penalty resulted and Windsor kick to touch gave the SaberCats a lineout 5-meters from in-goal. Houston made a tactical substitution in Diego Fortuny at hooker and the team mauled with Fortuny scoring a try, and Windsor converting to cut the lead to 24-12.
The referee also decided that Guiseppe Du Toit intercept attempt that was knocked forward, did not warrant a yellow card. Sam Windsor did make the Arrows pay by slotting a penalty goal and it was 24-15.
The Arrows answered back with a penalty goal of their own, this time from Tayler Adams, 27-15.
Late in the match Tomy de la Vega was sent to the bin for multiple team infractions. The SaberCats elected a scrum deep inside Arrows territory and De Wet Roos went blind for a brace with Windsor slotting the kick to be within a try of tieing the match or a converted try for the win, 27-22.
Houston claimed the restart and was pinged for a non-release penalty. The match clock showed that play was now in the 80th minute, but a Toronto penalty deep inside SaberCats territory allowed Windsor to kick for territory and attack from the Arrows 22-meters. Houston controlled the ball and mauled 22-meters with 14-men into in-goal, but the referee ruled that the ball was held up. This gave the Arrows the 27-22 victory.
Tayler Adams was named the Man of the Match and De Wet Roos could claim those honors for Houston.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
Toronto Arrows: 1 Richie Asiata 2 Andrew Quattrin 3 Cole Keith 4 Mike Sheppard 5 Paul Ciulini 6 Tomas de la Vega7 Lucas Rumball 8 Manuel Diana 9 Jamie Mackenzie 10 Taylor Adams 11 Johnny Sheridan 12 Guiseppe du Toit 13 Ben LaSage14 Dan Moor (C) 15 Sam Malcolm 16 Steven Ng 17 Pat Lynott 18 Tyler Rowland 19 Josh Van Horne 20 Peter Milazzo 21 Andrew Ferguson 22 Will Kelly 23 Mitch Richardson
Houston SaberCats: 1 Valdemar Lee-Lo 2 Tim Cadwallader 3 Boyd Wiggins 4 Kyle Breytenbach 5 Victor Comptat 6 Luke Beauchamp 7 Diego Magno (VC) 8 Adriaan Booysen 9 Dewet Roos (C) 10 Sam Windsor 11 Malacchi Esdale 12 Taylor Howden 13 Tiaan Loots14 Zach Pangelinan 15 Matias Freyre 16 Diego Fortuny 17 Nicolas Solveyra 18 Charlie Connolly 19 Rob Meeson 20 Cecil Garber 21 Jake Christmann 22 Tim Stanfill 23 Kieran Farmer Head Coach Paul Healy