Old Glory DC ends the season with a big road win over the Toronto Arrows

Old Glory DC ends the season with win in Toronto, Ontario
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TORONTO, ON – Old Glory DC ends the season with a big road win at York Lions Stadium. It is official, the season has ended for both teams. Toronto tried to end their season on a happy note, but Old Glory stole the party with 50 points scored at York Lions Stadium.

Old Glory DC ends the season with an eight-try win

Three keys to the game as Old Glory DC ends the season with a win

Old Glory DC dominated the second half

It was a great team play in the 57-minute, where Peni Lasaqa found Danny Tusitala for the pass. This was a big reason why Old Glory DC scored. The Arrows won a lineout in the 61-minute. Then in the 62-minute, Junior Sa’u passed it to William Talataina. Number 13 Babatz would then deliver a great pass t0 Danny Tusitala, who dropped the ball. Stan South almost scored but lost the ball at the try line. Renata Roberts-Tenana then found the open line, with a kick-pass to himself and extend Washington, D.C.’s lead at York Lions Stadium.

Then Danny Tusitala intercepted the ball in the 72-minute to start the scoring chance. Dacoda Worth did a good job of finding William Talataina, who scored DC’s last try and scored 50 points.

Old Glory kept the game close in the first half

A turnover led to Old Glory’s first try of the game in the ninth minute of play. The Arrows could not defend the lineout. After that try, the Arrows scored thanks to Ronan Foley.  Then, in the 16-minute, Peni Lasaqa made a great run and scored another try to keep the game close. After allowing the Arrows to score, Brady Daniel made a great run late in the Arrows zone. Then a few plays later, New Zealand player, Junior Sa’u scored a try in the 23-minute.

Keeping the game close allowed Kyle Stewart to give his team the lead in the 28-minute. The conversion was good. Despite trailing by a lot of points, Old Glory stepped up when needed most. This played a big role in DC coming up with the win in Toronto, Ontario.

Toronto Arrows did not capitalize on their opportunities

Phil Mackenzie, brother of Jamie Mackenzie, who played for the Arrows last Sunday, said this about the game:

“Well, there’s a lot of space, there is just one pass away from executing. So it is just taking the time, taking a couple of steps back giving your side more time on the ball and executing that last few passes as I think they left a few points off the board, but it is not for a lack of effort.”

  1. Felix Kalapu made a great run and got past a tackle from Sam Malcolm. Jamie Mackenzie made a great run in the 30-minute and was one pass away from scoring a try. Unfortunately, in the 33-minute, Toronto gave up possession via a lineout.
  2. Then in the 35-minute, a forward pass was called against the Arrows. If that forward pass was not called, Toronto could have scored a try to end the first half. However, saying that, it might have not mattered much. Old Glory was clearly the better team in the second half and hence why they won the game.
  3. There was also a play late in the game where Paul Ciulini dropped the ball deep into Old Glory’s half.

This is not the end of the world, but something that needs to be worked on. Major League Rugby is getting more competitive as more teams are being added to the competition. The Arrows will need to keep up, as the league is in the early part of its growth as a league and as a business.

Game Summary

This is what Toronto Arrows co-founder, Bill Webb, said about Ciulini making his 50th appearance to Raheem Bashir after the game:

“Paul has been a great warrior for our team since the beginning and he’ll be the first of many. And you know, he has been a classic Arrow, very devoted to the club. And I’m very proud of him today. We’re all very proud of him.”

This game meant a lot to Ciulini, who played his 50th appearance for the Arrows. As a result, he became the first and right now only Arrows player to make 50 appearances. He scored two tries in the game and almost scored another try late in the game but was not able to handle the pass late in the game.

On the game as a whole, no defence was being played. There was a lot of space for both teams to score. There was not much defence, which was indicative of how these two teams were playing recently. Old Glory did not give up many points in the second half, but that was more because of how well their offence was playing. Both teams will now look to 2023.

What is next for both teams as Old Glory DC ends the season on a high

For the game against Old Glory DC, the Arrows ended it with a bang. Webb talked about the attendance at the game and what it means for the players and head coaches.

“It’s a lot better. It’s great to be home in front of our home fans. It was very lonely last year for everybody, for the players to be playing home games without any fans in the stands, but to be playing here, and today, we had close to 3,000 people cheering, cheering our guys on. It’s a lot more fun. And, it’s not only good for our players, but it’s also good for our fans because they missed watching our boys, right?”

Unfortunately, for both teams, this is the end of the road for this year. Toronto did not get the home wins (like against Rugby ATL and Rugby New York) that they needed to make the MLR playoffs and Washington, D.C., had trouble defending their lines. The Arrows finished fourth while Washington, D.C. finished fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Both teams will now look to next year, which possibly could have two more teams added. According to Martin Pengelly of The Guardian, Chicago and St. Louis are rumoured to be the 14th and 15th teams in the league.

Toronto Arrows Academy and Rugby Canada

Toronto Arrows academy is one thing that Webb is most proud of. This is something that Toronto is known for in MLR and something Webb talked about:

“They want to play for the Arrows, they want to play for Canada, both sevens and fifteens. And it shows when we have players like Kobe Faust, who played in our academy now playing for the Arrows, or Sam Reimer who’s played in the academy and the Pacific Pride now playing for them. It shows that there is a very real pathway for Canadian athletes to get to both the international and the professional levels. So it’s actually secretly, this is the thing that I’m most proud of this season is what we’ve done for the academies.”

The Toronto Arrows academy is doing their job for the Arrows organization, Bill Webb named two players above who graduated to the Arrows senior team. Expect more players to come from the academy in the coming days. Kobe Faust even started in Sunday’s game against Old Glory DC and had some great moments in the game itself. Webb then went into the system itself with the Arrows academy:

“Super important. It’s one of the things I’m actually most excited about. Because of our young players participating in the Junior Arrows Academy, Ontario Blues, and Juniors Academy and they’re aged typically 15 to 18. And then we have the senior Academy age 18 to 23, usually, and that’s in three different locations that one and it’s been growing. And the popularity of that the number of players who want to get involved is very heartening to us because it means players want to play at a high-performance level.”

The Arrows TSN broadcast talked about where would Rugby Canada be without Canada’s only MLR team? They had eight of their 14 matches televised nationally on TSN. Also, the other six games, which were on the road, were shown on TSN.ca/TSN App.

MLR Playoffs

For those interested in the MLR playoffs, the games start on June 11. This is where Rugby ATL will face Rugby New York on June 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Seattle Seawolves will then play against the San Diego Legion on June 12 at 10:00 p.m. ET. The winner of the Seattle/San Diego game will face the Houston SaberCats at 7:00 p.m. ET in the Western Conference Final. All three games will be shown live on FS2.

The New England Free Jacks will then face the winner of the Atlanta/New York City game in the Eastern Conference Finals. That game is on June 29 at 3:00 p.m. ET on FS1. The winners of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals will play on June 25 at 12:00 p.m. ET on FS1. The final will be televised on FOX on June 25 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

 

Main photo credit c/o to Marcus Hobbs of the Toronto Arrows (June 05, 2022)