The Toronto Arrows suffered their first loss this season in Major League Rugby play Friday, beaten 22-19 by the Colorado Raptors thanks to Robbie Petzer’s late penalty.
Mistakes and penalties cost the Arrows (4-1-0) at Infinity Park. Colorado (3-2-0) took advantage for its second straight win.
The San Diego Legion remains the only unbeaten side in the 12-team league. San Diego (4-0-0) hosts Rugby United New York (3-1-0) on Sunday.
Gaston Mieres scored a try for Toronto, which trailed 14-13 at the half. Sam Malcolm booted a conversion and four penalties.
John Ryberg and Mikaele Kruse scored tries for Colorado. Petzer kicked four penalties.
The U.S. national anthem preceded the game but there was no rendition of “O Canada.”
Colorado centre Rene Ranger, a former All Black, was sent to the sin-bin in the 37th minute for a professional foul. Toronto hooker Andrew Quattrin was sin-binned two minutes later for contact to the head.
With Colorado leading 19-16, Raptors prop Marco Fepulea’i was sin-binned in the 66th minute for a high tackle. Malcolm slotted over the ensuing penalty to tied the game.
Colorado squandered a chance with 10 minutes remaining, losing its own line-out near the Canadian try-line. A poor pass killed off another Raptors attack soon after.
Petzer kicked the decisive penalty with four minutes remaining. Toronto rallied but a handling error ended a last-minute attack near the Colorado try-line.
A Petzer penalty put Colorado ahead in the fifth minute and the lead should have grown just minutes later. A handling error, however, ended the attack just shy of the goal-line.
The teams exchanged penalties before Ryberg, in the 22nd minute, ended a nice passing play that started with a Toronto turnover as Colorado increased its lead to 11-3.
The Arrows responded in the 26th minute, cutting the lead to one point after Mieres sliced through the Colorado defence after a scrum. Toronto then pulled ahead 13-11 in the 32nd minute on a Malcolm penalty.
The Arrows laid siege to the Colorado try-line late in the half but the Raptors stood tall. Petzer put the Raptors ahead 14-13 with a penalty just before the break.
A turnover on the second half kickoff was snagged by Kruse, who danced through the Toronto defence for a 19-13 lead. A 64th-minute Malcolm penalty cut the Colorado lead to 19-16.
Toronto had won its last 11 regular season games – seven last year and four in 2020. That streak was interrupted by a 30-17 playoff semi-final loss to eventual champion Seattle.
The Arrows had previously beaten the Austin Gilgronis (38-10), Houston Sabercats (27-22), Seattle Seawolves (39-17) and Rugby ATL (28-18) this season, all on the road.
The Arrows have two more away matches before their home opener April 4 against Utah.
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