Trailing 17-0, the Toronto Arrows scored 10 late points but could not catch Rugby ATL and lost their Major League Rugby season opener 17-10 Friday.
Atlanta led 12-0 at the break on tries by Alex Maughan and Austin White, plus a Kurt Coleman conversion. Maughan bulled his way over the line on a pick-and-go in the 13th minute and White scored on an overlap in the 24th.
Rewita Biddle added to the lead in the second half, outpacing the Arrows defenders to touch down in the corner for a 17-0 Atlanta lead at Silverbacks Park.
Mitch Richardson scored a try for the Arrows in the 76th minute after Ciaran Breen retrieved a kick and found Richardson with a pass before being tackled by the lone Atlanta defender. A Sam Malcolm penalty at the whistle earned Toronto a bonus point.
The win means the Fire and Ice Cup remains in Atlanta. The Cup is contested by Atlanta and the Arrows, who relocated to Georgia in 2021 due to the pandemic and shared facilities with Rugby ATL.
The cup “was born to commemorate a brotherhood that was created through that experience,” according to Rugby ATL.
The holders can only lose the cup if they are beaten at their home stadium. Rugby ATL won the inaugural Fire and Ice Cup match in 2021 at Silverbacks Park and has yet to relinquish it.
The Arrows, who starts the season with six straight road matches, visit the defending champion New York Ironworkers next on Feb. 26. Their first home game is April 8 against New York.