• Neil Davidson - The Canadian Press

Toronto Arrows bring pro rugby union to Canada, losing heart breaker to NOLA Gold

TORONTO — Pro rugby union arrived in Canada on Sunday, complete with a sellout crowd, a run on beer and a heartbreaking ending for the Toronto Arrows.

Trailing the NOLA Gold 28-19 at the half in Major League Rugby play, expansion Toronto pulled ahead 31-28 on tries by Andrew Ferguson, in the 45th minute, and Morgan Mitchell, in the 54th minute. Sam Malcolm converted the first try but saw his kick crucially hit the post for the second.

The rest of the match was an arm-wrestle with an effective Toronto defence holding off NOLA Gold, in midfield for the most part. But a penalty to the Arrows allowed the visitors from New Orleans to attack the goal-line late.

After some spirited Toronto defence, Ignacio Dotti dove over for the winning try in the 79th minute as the league-leading NOLA Gold edged the Arrows 35-31.

“Very disappointed,” said Chris Silverthorn, the Arrows’ director of rugby, who questioned some of the calls that went against his team late. “I thought we had it … I’m very frustrated right now.”

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