Warriors take down Toronto 47-19 at home
HERRIMAN, Utah — Respect isn’t just given, it has to be earned, and the Utah Warriors likely gained quite a bit of it during Saturday’s 47-19 romp over the visiting Toronto Arrows.
Following a lackluster first half, the Warriors put it all together and then some for the final 40 minutes, outscoring the Arrows 39-7 during the stretch. The level of play thrilled the thousands of fans who braved the frigid conditions to support the home team.
Coming off a tough 37-14 loss to the NOLA Gold the week before, Warriors head coach Greg Cooper felt Saturday’s performance was entirely necessary due to one primary factor.
“We felt as if we lost respect last week, and not from lack of trying,” Cooper said. “But we’re better than we were last week, so it’s important. We want to be respected by our crowd and our supporters, and by ourselves…So it’s really important that we perform well here because we get great support and we need to repay that.”
Leading the way for the Warriors was Joe Mano, who scored three tries on the day, which included a pivotal score during the final minute of the first half which cut Toronto’s lead to just 12-8 at the break.
On the score, Mano completed a long run out before executing a deft move to confound the lone defender between himself and the try line.
“That is what we want — one on one situations with their fullbacks, and I guess that’s what happened,” Mano said.
“I think that try was just the catalyst,” Cooper added. “So it came through (after) we scored that try after halftime.”
It didn’t take long for Mano to complete his second try on the day, scoring in the 45th minute off an assist from Lance Williams, giving Utah a 15-12 lead after a successful conversion kick
“It didn’t go according to plan last week, but he’s been one of our more consistent (and) best players,” Cooper said of Mano’s overall play. “That guy has some amazing skills.”
Utah extended its lead to 18-12 on a penalty kick made by Joel Hodgson before Toronto took back the lead at 19-18 following a try scored in the 61st minute.
But then it was all Warriors from that juncture until the 80th minute.
Just three minutes after what proved the Arrows’ final score of the game, Paul Lasike made his presence known, crossing the try line in the 64th minute off another Williams’ assist.
Then it was Mano again, receiving a brilliant kick assist from Hodgson for his final try of the match, which gave Utah a 30-19 lead.
Hodgson then followed his kick assist up with yet another brilliant ball off his foot which was received by Mika Kruse in the 70th minute to give Utah a 35-19 lead after a failed conversion kick.
Wrapping up the Warrior scoring was Onehunga Havili and Caleb Makene, scoring tries in the 72nd and 78th minutes, respectively.
“The guys just expressed themselves, and I thought we played some pretty outstanding rugby in that second half,” Cooper said of his team’s second half play, which worked in stark contrast to the game’s first 40 minutes, and certainly from last week’s loss to NOLA.
With the win Utah improves to 3-2 on the year and will have a quick turnaround to host The New England Free Jacks this coming Friday. Considering what was put forth on Saturday, and with the substitutions made in the second half working very effectively, Cooper expressed a renewed confidence moving forward.
“I thought the players that came in played really well, and that excites me, because we have to turn around again and play in six days,” Cooper said. “So getting players an opportunity, getting them game-time — it helps the environment and helps the players.”
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