TORONTO, ON – The New England Free Jacks won big as they scored 80 points against the Arrows. The Free Jacks showed why they are the best team in the Eastern Conference, and the Arrows will want to forget this game sooner rather than later.
The New England Free Jacks won big at York Lions Stadium
Three Keys to the Game
Full Game Summary:#LetsRide did well with their lineouts.#ArrowsUp’s two yellow cards did not help their chances.
The #TorontoArrows made too many turnovers.#TORvNE | 5-80 | #MLR2023
— Raheem (@bashirra) April 16, 2023
New England Free Jacks Did Well With Their Set-Pieces
The Free Jacks played very well with their lineouts. It played a big role in them winning the game over the Arrows.
- Andrew Quattrin scored a try in the fourth minute and the 30-minute of play.
- Le Roux Malan scored from a set piece as they used their speed in the 48-minute.
New England really was the better team in this category as the Arrows could not compete with them and Toronto also made errors with the lineouts. It was a fantastic display for the Free Jacks as they got a bonus point in the win over the lone Canadian MLR team.
The Arrows did not get a lot of calls their way, which included Toronto players getting yellow cards. It played a factor in how big the scoreline was as New England really took advantage of it.
- Peter Nelson got a yellow card in the fifth-minute.
- Dawson Fatoric got a yellow card in the 32-minute.
The Nelson yellow card was very controversial, as one TSN commentator mentioned that it looked like both players were able to get the ball. It also proved to be a costly one as Toronto gave up 14 points within 10 minutes and the Free Jacks lead went from just seven to a 21-point lead.
The second yellow card was given to Fatoric and a penalty try was awarded at the same time. This resulted in the Arrows probably losing a grip on the game. Taniela Filmone scored a try almost immediately afterward and New England would add another just before the first half ended.
Toronto Arrows Made Turnovers That Led to Tries for the New England Free Jacks
The Arrows made too many turnovers in their loss against the Free Jacks. It played a role in Toronto losing the game.
- Ross Braude committed a turnover, which allowed New England’s John Poland to score the try.
- Bowen gave up the ball, which resulted in a try for Paula Balekana.
Braude committed a turnover to start the second half, and then New England took advantage of their speed as Poland scored a try, but it was disallowed later on.
Other Factors: Noel Reid Scored His First-Ever Toronto Arrows Try
Noel's first try as an Arrow, a peach in the corner made possible by the hard-running Lolani 👇👌#ArrowsUp #TORvNE pic.twitter.com/rGwVrSLzvA
— Toronto Arrows RFC (@TorontoArrows) April 15, 2023
There was at least some good news for the Arrows. Noel Reid was able to earn his first try in MLR as he got a fantastic no-look pass from Lolani Faleiva. Without that pass, it was unlikely that Reid would have scored. Even though Toronto lost the game, it is a try that Reid should hold close to his heart.
READ MORE: Rugby New York wins thriller at York Lions Stadium
The Arrows did not get calls their way. This included a denied Ramón Ayarza try where Shay Kerry committed the penalty. Saying that it was not a great game for Toronto, as the defence gave up too many points. However, it is something they can bounce back from as they have shown on most days that they can compete against MLR teams, including that narrow loss against the defending MLR Champions, Rugby New York.
It is also something that the Arrows should learn from. Being better on the defensive side on the ball is important and it is not something they have excelled in, including in their home opener.
A close one to kick off our 2023 campaign
✈️ Arrows Academy 24
⚜️ Quebec Senior Men 31 pic.twitter.com/MxvloRuHZ2
— Toronto Arrows Senior Academy (@ArrowsSrAcademy) April 15, 2023
Before the Arrows game began, their academy had a close loss to Rugby Quebec. This is what Cory Hector, the Arrows academy director said about what the academy means at half-time to Ton Van Horne of MLR:
“It gives players an inspirational pathway. Now growing up now, they can see the Toronto Arrows, come up through their local clubs, have come through their communities, and sees themselves in those players.” Hector said. “Brendan Blackburn for example, came from the Blackville Crusaders and the Ontario representatives program, and played his first two games in MLR this year.”
Where The New England Free Jacks and The Toronto Arrows Stand
Week 9 in the books! 📚
How’d your team do?#MLR2023 | @Oval3_game pic.twitter.com/qmPbUUs3gT
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 16, 2023
The New England Free Jacks, with that win, earns also bonus points by scoring at least four tries at York Lions Stadium. They have the best record in the Eastern Conference as they are the only team in that Conference with a record over .500.
This is while the Arrows have one win and seven losses. They are last in the Eastern Conference and have the second-worst record in the league (they are tied in points with the Dallas Jackals, but the Jackals have a better points differential).
It is important to note though that the Arrows only played two home games in their first eight games. They still have a chance to make the MLR playoffs, but they need to win a lot of games, and that includes getting a win or two on the road.
The Arrows’ next game will be against the Seattle Seawolves on April 23 at 4:00 p.m. ET. That game will be shown and televised nationally on TSN, Root Sports Plus, and The Rugby Network. That game will take place at York Lions Stadium. Toronto then ends the month against the NOLA Gold on April 30 at 3:00 p.m. ET at The Gold Mine. That game will be shown on TSN.ca, The Rugby Network, and YURVIEW.
This is while the Free Jacks will host two games in April. They first host Rugby ATL at 3:00 p.m. ET and then play against Rugby New York at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Both games will be shown live on NBCSB and The Rugby Network, while the game against New York City will also be shown on MSG.
Photo Credit: Barry McCluskey of the Toronto Arrows on April 15, 2023.