Rugby ATL Hoists the Inaugural Fire & Ice Cup
Presented By: Walton Communities
“A commemoration of unity & teamwork through rugby.”
Rugby ATL vs. Toronto Arrows
Marietta, GA- Rugby ATL scores a “walk-off” try to defeat the Toronto Arrows 33-29.
The “Fire and Ice Cup” originated as a tribute to the incredible bond that has developed between Rugby ATL & the Toronto Arrows. Walton Communities Director, Brenda Hall, chose to sponsor the Cup because of its commemoration of international unity & teamwork through the sport of rugby.
The match started off with a flurry of tries, cards, and big energy. Just 3 minutes into the match Toronto’s Andrew Quattrin was issued a Yellow Card. Rugby ATL’s forward pack capitalized on the ensuing lineout when Marko Janse Van Rensburg peeled off the rolling maul and scored his 4th try of the year. (ATL 5-0)
The Arrows bounced back after Mike Sheppard charged down and recovered an attempted clearing kick. Minutes later, Gaston Mieres broke into open space and put away Ben LeSage with a beautiful offload after contact. (Arrows 14-5).
Rugby ATL, though down early, saw a spark when the Marietta born, Jason Damm, bullied his way through 3 defenders into the try zone.
Rugby ATL would add one more try before the half, when a Johan Momsen tackle forced a knock-on which was picked up by Mark O’Keeffe who then scampered from 45m out to put ATL on top.
Halftime: Rugby ATL 19- Toronto Arrows14
A Fight to the Finish
2 minutes into the restart, Marko Janse Van Rensburg scored his 2nd try of the night. Adriaan Carelse added the conversion. (ATL 26-14). Seemingly, all the energy in the stadium was now favoring the #RATLERS.
Toronto’s senior leadership was not to be phased or outdone with impressive backline displays of skill. Arrow’s Flyhalf, Tayler Adams, kicked a cheeky up-and-under ball at midfield that was hauled in by Gaston Mieres who then darted to the open space and offloaded to Leandro Leivas who finished off the try. Tommy De La Vega followed suit and tied the score with his try in the 63rd minute, securing the 1st of 2 bonus points for Toronto that evening. (26-26)
The Walk-Off Try
The next 10 minutes were filled with heavy blows and rising tension. Both teams were playing for pride and defending “their home turf.” Toronto was awarded a penalty in the 75th minute. Captain Lucas Rumball put the tee into the hands of Tayler Adams who drilled the 45m Penalty Goal. (Arrows up 29-26).
Rugby ATL was throwing everything at the Arrows defense but nothing came of it. Then Rugby ATL knock-on in the 78th minute felt like the end of the match. On the ensuing Toronto scrum, the ball made its way out to Ben LeSage but the line speed of Batu Ezcurra and Robbie Petzer forced the turnover for “not-releasing.”
ATL elected to go for the lineout and the rest was all the “8 man-machine.” The forwards dug deep and after a series of unselfish and relentless pick-and-go’s, Ross Deacon set “fire” to the crowd as he scored in the 82nd minute.
Final: Rugby ATL 33- Toronto Arrows 29
“It is our first trophy as a franchise. It’s such a great moment and it’s an amazing feeling,” said Head Coach, Scott Lawrence.
Rugby ATL is tied for 3rd place right now in the Eastern Conference with 21 table points alongside the New England Free Jacks. The New England Free Jacks will travel to Atlanta this Saturday night for Week 9 of Major League Rugby.
Date: Saturday, May 15th, 2021
Kickoff: 8:00 PM EST
Venue: The Snake Pit