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Record-Breaker Malcolm Leads Arrows to Memorable Comeback Win in Chicago

March 12, 2023 – Major League Rugby (MLR) – Toronto Arrows News Release

Sam Malcolm has put in several memorable performances over his five seasons with the Arrows, but the 80-minute spectacular he produced in Chicago on Saturday evening stands in a class of its own.

The fly-half scored a club-record 27 points – the entirety of Toronto’s point tally – to lead the Arrows to a 27-26 win over the Hounds at SeatGeek Stadium.

The Kiwi was far from a one-trick pony, to boot; he bagged a pair of tries, a conversion, four penalty goals, and the match-winning drop goal in the 77th minute to secure the come-from-behind victory in soggy, subzero conditions.

After the Arrows forwards opened the match with back-to-back scrum penalties, it was the backs that returned the favour with a well-worked opening try. Avery Oitomen darted in from his left wing to release Mitch Richardson along the far sideline. Richardson then deftly chipped deep into Chicago territory, plucked up the kind bounce, and cooly passed to the support-running Malcolm for a scintillating score.

The hosts wasted little time in responding. Michael de Waal’s knifing run and ensuing pass to Luke Carty saw the Hounds fly-half race clear, only to be halted by an outstanding last-gasp tackle from Richardson. Carty’s pop off the grass was directed to Maclean Jones, but the flanker was hit by his opposite number in Lucas Rumball right as the ball arrived, resulting in the ball being spilled forward. Deferring to the TMO, the referee issued a double-whammy to the visitors: a penalty try against, and a trip to the sin bin for their captain.

Down a man but undeterred, the Arrows marched right back into Chicago territory, and were rewarded for their resolve. Debutant Noel Reid’s offload sprung Tautalatasi Tasi, who in turn shovelled the ball to the perfectly-positioned Malcolm for his brace – the first of his MLR career.

The pendulum soon swung back in the Hounds’ favour. A rolling maul deep in Toronto’s half was finished off by Jones. Minutes later, just as Rumball was set to return from his 10-minute infraction, the referee gave Reid his marching orders as well, deeming the centre to have cynically killed Chicago’s momentum with his active hands in the ruck. Carty successfully kicked at goal on the following play, taking the hosts’ lead to 20-12.

Toronto responded by driving back into Chicago territory. After a series of probing goalline crashes from members of the pack, Mason Flesch appeared to have scored as he cycloned across the line, but was ultimately held up. Ensuring the late-half pressure wouldn’t go fruitless, Malcolm slotted a penalty to reduce the deficit to three points heading into the interval.

Rain turned to snow as the second half commenced, and the effects of the worsening weather were felt on the pitch.

The Hounds took a turn visiting the sin bin, with Jones issued a yellow card for a high tackle on Ross Braude shortly after the restart. The Arrows capitalized with the man-advantage, as Malcolm made no mistake on two shots at goal to put his side ahead by one.

James O’Neill had only just entered the match when another TMO decision led to another yellow card coming out of the referee’s pocket, with the Arrows flanker dismissed for an improper clearout at the breakdown. With Chris Mattina now handling kicking duties, the fullback struck true to put the home side back up by two.

The back-and-forth theme continued as Malcolm and Mattina traded another set of penalty goals entering the final five minutes of the match.

With Toronto still trailing by two and time ticking down, Malcolm delivered his moment of magic: a 20-metre drop goal to send the Arrows ahead for good.

Three more stop-start, gruelling minutes ensued before the visitors secured possession and sent the ball into touch to nab their first win of the season.

Malcolm’s 27-point haul eclipsed his own club record of 24 points that he set in a victory over Seattle in 2020 – a fixture that saw the club’s all-time points leader go nine-for-nine from the kicking tee.

Toronto (1-2; 5 points) enters Week 5 of the 2023 season with an away clash against Old Glory DC (1-2; 7 points) on Saturday, March 18. The Arrows claimed the season series over DC in 2022, winning 29-5 on the road and 32-27 at home before dropping a 50-35 home decision in the final week of the campaign. The Eastern Conference meeting at Segra Field in Leesburg, VA, will kick off at 7 p.m. ET.

Toronto Arrows Stat Leaders:

Ball Carries: Tyler Rowland – 13

Carry Metres: Tautalatasi Tasi – 134

Defenders Beaten: Tautalatasi Tasi – 4

Tackles Made: Lucas Rumball – 8

Offloads: Ramon Ayarza, Noel Reid – 3

Attacking Breakdown Arrivals: Mitch Eadie – 24

Defending Breakdown Arrivals: Lucas Rumball – 6

Chicago Hounds Stat Leaders:

Ball Carries: Chris Mattina – 8

Carry Metres: Mark O’Keefe – 62

Defenders Beaten: Three Players – 2

Tackles Made: Duke Krishnan – 19

Offloads: Charlie Abel – 2

Attacking Breakdown Arrivals: Michael de Waal – 19

Defending Breakdown Arrivals: Lindsey Stevens – 13

Toronto Arrows Score Report:

Tries: Sam Malcolm 2 (13′, 21′)

Conversions: Sam Malcolm (14′)

Penalty Goals: Sam Malcolm 4 (38′, 57′, 61′, 69′)

Drop Goals: Sam Malcolm (77′)

Chicago Hounds Score Report:

Tries: Penalty Try (18′), Maclean Jones (26′)

Conversions: Luke Carty (27′)

Penalty Goals: Luke Carty 2 (10′, 29′), Chris Mattina 2 (67′, 74′)

Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. Chicago Hounds:

Lolani Faleiva

Ramon Ayarza

Tyler Rowland

Mason Flesch

Adrian Wadden

Travis Larsen

Lucas Rumball (C)

Mitch Eadie

Ross Braude

Sam Malcolm (VC)

Mitch Richardson

Noel Reid

Tautalatasi Tasi

Avery Oitomen

Ciaran Breen

Gene Syminton

Nik Hildebrand

Conan O’Donnell

Mike Sheppard (VC)

Owain Ruttan

James O’Neill

Will Grant

Kobe Faust

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