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29 April 2019

Swinton Lions were a part of history as the largest Championship crowd in five years gathered at Lamport Stadium for Toronto’s opening home fixture.

Tries from Matty Ashton and Mike Butt as the Lions displayed a proud effort in a 52-10 loss to Toronto Wolfpack in a Championship-record breaking crowd.


The Lions travelled to Canada to take on the high flying Wolfpack in their own back yard and the visiting Lions fans became part of the Canadians record attendance for a game at the Lamport Stadium of 9,562 people.

It was a beautiful, sunny but cold day and the fans were treated to a good game of rugby despite the home side running out with a high scoring victory.

Wolfpack took the lead on six minutes when pressure on the line saw former dual-registration Lion Gareth O’Brien cross on the left for the opening try but Blake Wallace was unable covert and they were over again four minutes later when Wallace himself slipped some tackles to score by the posts and add the conversion to his own try.

The Lions hit back on twenty-two minutes when Gavin Bennion intercepted a Wolfpack pass to race fifty plus metres before handing on to Matty Ashton who finished off with a try by the posts and Harry Smith added the conversion to put the Lions back in it. Wolfpack then added two further tries in a four minute period when Bodene Thompson stretched out to score and the other former Lion Andy Ackers darted over from short range to score and Wallace converted both of them to give his side a sixteen point lead. Bennion was then sent to the sin bin for a late shot on Wallace but he got up and dusted himself off to convert the resulting penalty.

Andrew Dixon scored one of his typical tries when he raced thirty metres to score and Wallace again made no mistake with the conversion and on fifty minutes Ricky Leutele went over in the corner and Wallace again converted from the touchline. Tom Olbison then scored with virtually his first touch of the ball and Wallace was again on hand to convert.

Wallace then added his second try when he chipped the Lions defence to regather and score and the final try for the Wolfpack was scored by former Lion Adam Higson and both were converted by Wallace but it was the Lions who scored last when Mike Butt twisted out of a tackle to score in the left corner but Smith could not convert from the touchline and the game ended a couple of minutes later.

After the game the players went over to applaud their travelling fans and then took the applause of the home fans doing a lap of honour on the way back to the dressing rooms signing autographs and shirts and having their photos taken with the very friendly home support and even Gordo the new Wolfpack mascot came out with a Swinton shirt on at half time and this was well received by the fans.

Full time: Toronto Wolfpack 52-10 Swinton Lions 

Ian Rigg reporting from Allan Lamport Stadium Toronto.



Wolfpack: O’Brien, Higson, Stanley, Leutele, Rawsthorne, Wallace, McCrone, Lussick, Ackers, Sidlow, Dixon, Thompson, Wilkin.

Subs: Mullally, Beswick, Olbison, Sims.

Tries: O’Brien (6′), Wallace (10′,67′), Thompson (34′), Ackers (38′), Dixon (46′), Leutele (50′), Olbison (55′), Higson (70′).

Goals: Wallace 8/10

Lions: Ashton, Butt, Lloyd, Paisley, Aaronson, Hansen, Smith, Bennion, Waterworth, Hatton,Wells, Halton, P.Jones.

Subs: Brickhill, A.Jones, Kenga, Shelford.

Tries: Ashton (22′), Butt (74′)

Goals: Smith 1/2

Referee: Greg Dolan

Attendance: 9,562

H:T: 24-6 FT: 52-10



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