The Toronto Arrows lost memorable home game against Rugby ATL

Rugby ATL fly-half Kurt Coleman in Quincy, Massachusetts

TORONTO, ON – The Toronto Arrows lost a memorable home game at York Lions Stadium. It was their first home game in Toronto in over 1,000 days. The Arrows actually played well but got a costly yellow card in the second half that cost them the game against Rugby ATL.

Toronto Arrows lost an important game to Rugby ATL

Three keys to the game

Rugby ATL played good defence throughout the game

It was a big reason why Atlanta won the game. There were a few situations where Atlanta had to defend Toronto’s attack.

  • In the 31-minute, Atlanta defended Toronto’s offensive lineout and got a turnover decision in their favour.
  • Rugby ATL got the ball from the Arrows via a scrum in the 54-minute. That play changed the game completely for Atlanta.

Yes, the second example came in the Arrows half. However, Atlanta still had to defend Toronto, who still had possession of the ball. Also, after Atlanta scored two straight tries in the second half, the Arrows pressed hard for a try and also converted a penalty. They tried very hard, but could not find an answer because of Rugby ATL’s solid defence.

Toronto Arrows had trouble dealing with Rugby ATL’s offence

It seemed like throughout the game; the Arrows had trouble dealing with Rugby ATL’s offence. Now, they did not give up many points, but they gave up a lot of penalties as a result.  This resulted in one penalty and a yellow card in the game.

  • South African, Kurt Coleman (pictured above) converted two penalties in the 19 and 25-minute of play.
  • The Arrows’ James O’Neill got a yellow card in the 58-minute.

The Arrows’ Ueta Tufuga could have gotten a yellow card taking down Rugby ATL’s Will Leonard from behind down the ground. It was not malicious, but it was an unnecessary tackle that got Atlanta a penalty. Atlanta, however, kept pressing.

Then in the 56-minute, Atlanta got their chance. O’Neill of the Arrows got a yellow card with an illegal tackle on number 7. This meant the Arrows were down a man for 10 minutes. Atlanta would take advantage. Jason Damm scored a try in the 58-minute of play as they were awarded for their pressure.

Again, the pressure that Atlanta created enabled them to get a penalty in the 64-minute. Then in the lineout in the 66-minute, Marko Janse van Rensburg pushed through Toronto’s defence. Kurt Coleman converted both field goals. Offensively, that was all Atlanta needed in order to win the game.

Toronto Arrows turned over the ball too often late in the game

It was understandable that the Arrows turned over the ball. They were under pressure to make a play late in the game. However, the number of turnovers created was notable.

  • New Zealander, Sam Malcolm, had his kick intercepted by an Atlanta player in the 80+2-minute.
  • Rugby Canada’s Will Kelly’s pass in the 80+6-minute of play was intercepted by Atlanta’s Duncan Van Schalkwyk.

Two mistakes from the Arrows late in the game, allowed Atlanta to win the game. Yes, Toronto was under pressure, but there was a chance to win the game. That is a credit to the Arrows team, who for 10 minutes was a man short. It might have been due to the pressure from Rugby ATL, which was seen when the Arrows turned over the ball in the first minute of play.

Other Factors

It is important not to forget the occasion for the Arrows. This was their first home game in Toronto for over 1,000 days. Yes, they played a home game in Langford, Greater Victoria, British Columbia in February. However, that place is located in British Columbia, which is quite far geographically from Toronto.

The Arrows also started the game on the right foot in both halves. As mentioned before, they got a try to start the second half and got a terrific penalty conversion from Sam Malcolm in the first half. The only unfortunate thing is that they were unable to maintain that momentum, especially in the second half.

Either way, the Arrows fans were appreciated by their players. This is what their captain, Mike Sheppard, shouted to the fans when the game ended: “Thank you Arrows fans.”

Toronto Arrows: What they are looking to build?

Also, on the Arrows playing at York Lions Stadium, this is what Arrows co-founder, Webb said according to TSN:

“Well, York has been a great partner. The stadium is spectacular. It’s a brand-new pitch here. The players love it, the full-sized pitch. Great seats and a wonderful garden here with craft beer and craft food.”

He also talked about the building blocks for developing players across Canada on TSN:

“We got three academies now, one out of Guelph, Kingston, and a new one in Montreal. We are developing players from the university age to come to the pros when they are ready,” Webb said.

Having an academy in Montreal is a big deal in Canada. Montreal is the second-biggest city in Canada in terms of population. An academy will increase the level of play for Montrealers in Canada. Also, if and when an MLR team comes into Montreal, they will have the Arrows to thank for having a competitive roster.

Rugby ATL gets a big win against rivals the Toronto Arrows

There may be 13 teams, but only six of those teams will make the MLR playoffs. Also, of those top six teams, only three of them will come from the Eastern Conference. Rugby ATL keeps pace as they have 30 points in eight games played. Toronto did get the bonus point at home, so not all is lost.

However, they sit 10 points back from a playoff spot. Also, even though they have a 4-2 record on the road, they remain winless at home. They will need to play better at home if they want to make the 2022 MLR playoffs. This is especially true when there are only 16 games in the MLR season this year.

These teams will meet once again on May 28 at Silverbacks Park in Atlanta, Georgia. The winner of the game at 3:00 p.m. ET will win the Fire and Ice Cup, which is currently held by Atlanta.

The Arrows continue their three-game homestand with a game against Old Glory DC at York Lions Stadium. The game takes place at 12:00 p.m. ET on NBCSW, The Rugby Network, and TSN (looks like it will be televised nationally, but it is unclear) on April 9.

They will then play against the NOLA Gold on April 16 at 12:00 p.m. ET. The game will be shown on Yurview, The Rugby Network, and TSN. Both games will be played at York Lions Stadium according to the Toronto Arrows.

This is while Rugby ATL will play against the NOLA Gold at 8:00 p.m. ET. Atlanta will travel to New Orleans to play at The Gold Mine on April 9. The game will be shown on The Rugby Network and Yurview. They then have a bye week on April 16-17 as they will play no game according to Rugby ATL.


Main Picture Credit:
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