The Ontario Arrows Hold On To Beat The Utah Warriors 24-20

Photo Credit: Davey Wilson / William S. Dimmit

The Utah Warriors hosted the Ontario Arrows in the Warriors second preseason match. It was a wet and wild affair in rainy Sandy, Utah. The Arrows were able to hold on after a valiant second half effort from the Warriors.

Will Kelly had the first attempt at points for the Arrows, but was just wide on his penalty kick. Kelly added those points just a few minutes later with another penalty kick. Jared Whippy had an attempt to tie it for the Warriors, but was just wide with his penalty kick. And he followed Will Kelly and made his second penalty kick to tie the game.

Mike Sheppard added the first try of the match. After an Ontario lineout, the Arrows maul was brought down just short of the line. Sheppard was across the line a few phases later. Mitch Richardson added the next try for the Arrows. After a couple of dominant Arrows scrums, the ball went wide to Richardson who went over for the try.

The Warriors had a great chance late in the first half to get on the board. Alekisa Kalougata forced an Ontario knock on after a kick and chase, but the Arrows dominant scrum prevented the Warriors from doing anything with the advantageous field position. 

The first half was sloppy, partly because of the weather. The Arrows dominant scrum caused the Warriors problems and Utah couldn't do much because they couldn't hold onto possession of the ball. Anytime the Warriors would get possession, they would give it up within a few phases. 

Paki Afu got the Warriors first try of the match six minutes into the second half. After a nice couple of line breaks from the Warriors, they earned a penalty close to the try line. Joseph Nicholls took the quick tap and gave it to Afu who dotted down on the posts for the try.

Arrows loosehead Rob Brouwer was handed a yellow card for a high tackle on Paki Afu and Fetu'u Vainikolo was to take advantage for the Warriors second try. After some back and forth kicking, Vainikolo picked up the grubber kick from Ontario and just ran through the Arrows for the try. 

The Warriors were able to take the lead with their third straight try, thanks to the Whippy to Whippy connection. After a scrum win for the Warriors, Jared Whippy had a great line break and had a great offload to his brother Josh. 

The Arrows went back to their first half strategy of playing through the forwards to take the lead back. After the Warriors were able to bring down the Arrows maul, the Arrows went to the pick and go multiple times before Pat Lynott was able to get over the line for the try. 

The Warriors had a late chance to win the game, but Utah got over powered in the ruck and Ontario was able to turn the ball over and kick to touch for the win.

This was a tale of two halves for the Warriors. They looked like they didn't know what they were doing in the first half. They couldn't keep the ball in their possession. While the Arrows looked and played like the dominant team. Their forward pack was their strength as their forward play led to their two first half tries.

In the second half, the Warriors were able to keep possession and play through their backs. Their tries came through open play from their backs. Though they weren't able to hold onto the lead, as the Arrows went back to their first half strategy of playing through the forwards, the Warriors should be happy with their second half effort.

The Arrows head back to Canada and prepare to host Rugby United New York on April 14th. The Warriors have two weeks to prepare for another Canadian team. Utah welcomes Alberta to the Warriors first game at Zions Bank Stadium on April 20th.

Man of the Match
Ontario: Will Kelly
Utah: Fetu'u Vainikolo

Scoring:

Tries Mike Sheppard 16, Mitch Richardson 28, Pat Lynott 73

Cons Will Kelly 2/2, Shawn Windsor 1/1

Pens Will Kelly 1/2 (2, 6)

Yellow Card Rob Brouwer (55, High Tackle)


Tries Paki Afu (46), Fetu'u Vainikolo (58), Josh Whippy (62)

Cons Jared Whippy 1/3

Pens Jared Whippy 1/2 (8, 11)

~Josh Fredlund