Match Report: SaberCats vs. Toronto Arrows 4.21.19
Toronto Arrows -35
SaberCats – 21
By Liam Poach
The SaberCats fell short of victory 35-21 on Easter Sunday in what was an exciting back and forth affair with the Toronto Arrows. Pat O’Toole was named the team’s Man of the Match.
The game began with an ominous tone as the ‘Cats conceded a knock-on at the opening kickoff, setting up the Arrows for their first of three unanswered tries to begin the half. Toronto Fly-Half Sam Malcolm would be perfect on all three conversions, putting the ‘Cats in a 21-point hole early in the contest.
However, if nothing else, this team is resilient. A penalty by the Arrows would give the ‘Cats possession and a shot at fully challenging the Arrows with their offensive patterns. The attack would culminate in Fullback Zach Pangelinan finding the in-goal for the team’s first try of the match.
Following those first points, the smell of blood must have been in the water, because the ‘Cats seemed to take on a new, aggressive life that was hell bent on putting pressure on the Arrows’ defense. Osea Kolinisau may have had the run of the week, at one point nearly sprinting sideline to sideline between Toronto defenders before setting up an offload to Pat O’Toole who would go on to smash his way into the corner for a try just as the half expired.
The second half would seem to start on even better footing, as the ‘Cats superior scrum succeeded in forcing a penalty try to even things up at 21-all. What would follow would be a battle between the two sides in an attempt to gain the upper hand. Houston’s desire to take the lead was evident, as Connor Murphy continued to unfurl quick pass after quick pass out the ruck to playmakers like Palamo and Fa’anana-Schultz, only managing a rate of 3.9 meters per pass, but offering a quick ball rate of 74%, thereby not allowing the Arrows’ defense to get too comfortable.
While the ‘Cats were able to challenge Toronto several more times inside their own 22 (60% territory rate), those opportunities, unfortunately, did not yield any points. While the set piece itself performed admirably (100% completion rate and a lineout steal, not to mention tons of forced penalties), mistakes made at the breakdown and in the passing game would end up killing many promising phases before they could yield a bounty.
Toronto would go on to secure two more tries before time expired, giving them the victory to go along with the bonus point. Toronto (5-5) currently sits at 6th place in the league standings with 29 points, while Houston (2-8) is in 7th with 11 points.
Though adding another one to the loss column is never ideal, the comeback, at least for a short time, in this one was real. It exemplified not only the grit, but the reality of this team’s “never say die” attitude that they bring with them to every matchup. Next week, the SaberCats will welcome San Diego to Dyer Stadium in Houston. Come out and support your team!
Photo Credit: José Romelo Lagman
Stream the Match here
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