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Late rally earns Arrows second straight tie in MLR play

Toronto Arrows Toronto Arrows - The Canadian Press

TORONTO — D'Shawn Bowen's 79th-minute try lifted Toronto into a 29-29 tie in Major League Rugby play Thursday, the Arrows' second tie in less than a week.

Bowen managed to haul in Tautalatasi Tasi's deflected pass and raced in for the late try. The Arrows had a chance to win it but Peter Nelson's conversion attempt from near the sideline was just wide.

John LeFevre had given Old Glory a 29-24 lead in the 76th minute, sliced through the Arrows defence after a prolonged attack.

Toronto (1-9-2, 14 points) was coming off a 34-34 tie with visiting Rugby ATL last Friday, which ended a seven-game losing streak that began with a 29-3 loss at Old Glory in Leesburg, Va. The Arrows' two ties are the only ones the league has recorded this season.

Toronto's lone win came March 11, a 27-26 decision at the expansion Chicago Hounds.

Jamason Faʻanana-Schultz, Peni Lasaqa, Tito Diaz Bonilla and Marcos Young also scored tries for Old Glory (5-6-1, 33 points). Canadian Gradyn Bowd kicked two conversions.

Ciaran Breen, Ross Braude and Liam Bowman also scored tries for Toronto, which led 14-12 at the break at York Lions Stadium. Shane O'Leary kicked two conversions and a penalty. Nelson also booted a conversion.

Toronto was missing 13 injured players. Still the Arrows' matchday 23 featured eight internationals — seven from Canada and one from Chile.

The Arrows lost centre Mitch Richardson to injury in the 26th minute,

After going down 7-0 after just three minutes, Toronto tied it in the 17th minute with Breen crossing in the corner for a converted try after a multi-phase attack.

But Old Glory made the Arrows pay for a mistake on the ensuing restart. Bowen dropped the ball, only to see Lasaqa pick it up and race untouched to the try-line for a 12-7 lead.

Braude scored in the dying seconds of the first half, darting past Samoan William Talataina from the back of a ruck and then outmuscling a couple of tacklers to touch the ball down. O'Leary's conversion gave Toronto a 14-12 lead.

The Arrows came out with intent in the second half, adding to their lead in the 49th minute with an O'Leary chip-shot penalty kick after Toronto laid siege to the Old Glory try-line.

Toronto lost flanker Jame O'Neill to the sin-bin in the 53rd minute, taking the hit for what the referee deemed to be too many Arrows penalties. Seconds later, Bonilla touched down in the corner to tie it at 17-17.

Toronto overthrew a lineout to trigger an Old Glory attack. Young scored in the corner in the 66th minute, diving over for a 22-17 lead for the visitors from the Washington, D.C., area.

Bowman, making his Arrows debut off the bench, powered his way through a pack of tacklers for a try in the 71st minute. Nelson's conversion gave Toronto a 24-22 lead.

With skipper Lucas Rumball on the bench, Braude captained the Arrows for the first time.

Canadian Kyle Baillie, a former Arrow, started at lock for Old Glory.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2023