Samoan influence helped Rugby New York earn win at York Lions Stadium

Somoan wing Ed Fidow scores a try at the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium

TORONTO, ON – Rugby New York won the game, thanks largely to their strong start to the game. They scored the first 17 points of the game, as they found ways to get behind the Toronto Arrows’ defence on the road.

Rugby New York really played well offensively in a 41-17 road win in Toronto

Three keys to the game

Rugby New York scored the first 17 points of the game and had a strong first half

Pressure from Rugby New York forced a penalty from the Toronto Arrows in the seventh minute. As result, from a scrum, Samoan international, Kalolo Tuiloma, scored the first try of the game in the seventh minute.

Then in the 19-minute, New York City identified the space on the short side. This allowed, New York City to easily get through the Arrows’ defence and as a result, New Zealander, Jack Heighton scored a try.  Then after the Arrows scored the first try of the game, New York City replied immediately. They were able to run half the field to score another try in the 23-minute. This was started after New York City collected an Arrows’ kick as Samoan international, Ed Fidow (pictured above), scored his second try.

Toronto Arrows made lots of turnovers in the game

The second try of the game probably changed the game. New Zealander, Sam Malcolm, pass was not met by any Toronto Arrows players. As a result, New York City passed the ball across the field, which resulted in a try by Fidow in the 12-minute. This was a painful try to give up as the Arrows were looking to score just a few seconds prior.

  • The Toronto Arrows had a glorious chance to score in the 16-minute. Following a lineout, the Arrows almost scored, but they dropped the ball, forfeiting possession to New York City. A minute later, Arrows’ New Zealander, Lolani Faleiva, did not control the pass, allowing the scoring opportunity to pass by.
  • In the 37-minute, two Arrows played clashed with each other.

New York City’s offence also showed up in the second half

Yes, the Arrows were down in the first half. However, they started to play well in the second half as Rugby Canada player, Andrew Coe, stole the ball in 46-minute. After the Arrows scored the first 10 points of the second half, New York City replied back. In the 60-minute, following a lineout, New York City was able to create another try for the team, this time by USA Rugby player, Dylan Fawsitt, in the 60-minute.

Then in the 64-minute, Antonio Kiri Kiri started the play by offloading the ball to number 12’s Jason Emery and passing the ball to number 22’s Connor Buckley. Buckley then saw New Zealander, Brendon O’Connor, who scored the try. These two tries turned the momentum to New York City’s side. The Arrows were put under pressure and gave up another try to New Zealander, Faʻasui Fuatai. He scored the final try for New York City to end the game in the 79-minute. This means that New York City improved their chances of getting a playoff spot while the Arrows are still out of a playoff spot looking in.

Other Factors

The Arrows did have their moments, like the one seen above. Ronan Foley made a terrific run in the 22-minute, allowing Canadian, Cole Brown, to get the try. Foley also played a big role in the second try, He made a great run to pass New York City’s defence and passed the ball to Faleiva. However, after the first Arrows’ try, they gave up a try a few minutes after, which kept the crowd quiet.

This is what Cole Brown, the one who scored the first Arrows’ try, said about their defence after the game according to TSN:

“Yeah, absolutely, I think at the start of the year, our defence was prime and we were doing really well and our offence was lacking a bit and we recently have been able to score tries, but we have not been defending as well. So, it is just connecting those two at the right time, and hopefully, we can do it for the rest of the year.”

It was the Arrows’ defence that needs to improve. This includes being more alert when Heighton was going for a quick throw in the 50-minute. Also, some of the tries the Toronto Arrows gave up were a bit too easy.

Particularly in the second and third tries for New York City, they were able to get past the Arrows’ defence. This was through crisp passing and overlapping. It looked a bit too easy for New York City to score tries. Yes, New York City mishandled the ball at the end. However, they already burned the Arrows twice by that time.

To be fair, for the rest of the first half, the Arrows played well defensively, but this was also the second-straight game where they gave up too many points to start the game. They gave up the first 17 points against New York City and the first 29 points against the Houston SaberCats in the game prior to this.

Game Summary

Rugby New York got a big win on the road. It was a tough task facing the Arrows on the road. The fact that they won by such a large margin, including a bonus point, displays the quality of the team. Yes, the Arrows have 10 players injured, but you can only beat the team right in front of them. This was also New York City’s first-ever win in Canada. They narrowly lost against the Arrows in 2019 at Lamport Stadium.

As a result, New York City is now second in the MLR Eastern Conference. They have 42 points and are 12 points clear of the Arrows, the closest team to a playoff spot. This is while Toronto will now need to look at the next four games as must-win games. Three of their last four games are at home, but they still need to win at home. Their record at home is only two wins and three losses. They also have a road game coming up against Rugby ATL, who currently hold the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Rugby New York got a vital win in Toronto. Now they can try and seal their playoff spot with their next two games being at home. This is because their last two games are on the road.

Toronto will now face the new expansion team, the Dallas Jackals, at York Lions Stadium on May 14. The game will be shown live on FS2 at 7:00 p.m. ET. It does not say it will be televised nationally on TSN on the Arrows website. However, to be fair, all Toronto Arrows home games have been shown nationally on TSN. So hopefully, that game will be televised nationally also.

This is while Rugby New York will host the Seattle Seawolves at JFK Stadium. The game will take place at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 15 in Hoboken, New Jersey. The game will be shown live on The Rugby Network, ROOT SPORTS PLUS, and MSG.


Main Picture Credit:
Embed from Getty Images