The Toronto Arrows earns thrilling draw against Rugby ATL

Toronto Arrows player Mitch Richardson plays big role in Toronto Arrows thrilling draw at York Lions Stadium

TORONTO, ON – The Toronto Arrows earns thrilling draw in an exciting match that went back and forth against Rugby ATL. The Arrows trailed the entire game, but were able to score the last 14 points in the game to tie the game late against Atlanta at York Lions Stadium.

Toronto Arrows earns thrilling draw at York Lions Stadium

Three keys to the game

Both teams made some costly turnovers

The win was for the taking of both teams. Unfortunately, both teams did make some costly turnovers in the game.

  • Lolani Faleiva got the ball. He played a major role in the try scored as Mitch Richardson received the pass and scored the try. The conversion was made and the Arrows tied the game at 17 points apiece after trailing by 17 points early in the game.
  • Mason Flesch stole the ball and D’Shawn Bowen was able to convert the try for the Arrows in the 68-minute.

There were also other plays that determined the game. An example would be Mitch Richardson stealing the ball. This eventually resulted in a penalty conversion by Shane O’Leary, which resulted in both teams drawing at York Lions Stadium. There was also a scoring chance that Atlanta had that happened because of an Arrows turnover in the first half.

Rugby ATL took advantage of the Toronto Arrows loose defence to start the game

When the game started, it seemed that the Arrows were not set defensively. Atlanta had a lot of room to move around at the beginning of the game and it played a big role in them taking the lead early on.

  • Matt Heaton scored the opening try for RugbyA\ TL. The conversion was made in the fourth minute.
  • Martini Talapusi converted a penalty in the seventh minute.
  • USA Rugby and Rugby ATL player, Alex Maughan, scored a try from a maul in the 17-minute.

The Arrows’ defence gave up 17 of the 34 points in the first 17 minutes of the game, that was 50 percent of the points Atlanta scored in the game. Starting off the game well for Toronto has been a problem all season long and it has been a problem here as well.

Toronto Arrows did a good job of coming from behind to win

Despite having a player sent off for 10 minutes because of a yellow card, the Arrows still found a way to get a result. A huge character draw for Toronto, who were able to come from behind to win the game.

Bowen was able to make up for an earlier play with a fantastic run and scored the try that put the Arrows within touching distance against Rugby ATL. Then, the converted penalty by O’Leary helped Toronto draw the game when it looked like all hope was lost.

What might have been the prettiest try scored, Ross Braude scored with a fantastic team play try as Richardson passed the ball to Kobe Faust. Despite the heavy contact, Faust passed the ball to Ross Braude, who completed the try.

Game Summary

There were some notable players with the Arrows. Bowen is a fast player who has a bright future in Major League Rugby. This is while Mitch Richardson might have been the best player of the game by stealing the ball and playing a big part in some of the Arrows’ tries. Lastly, a great deal of credit should be given to O’Leary, whose kicking game was perfect against Rugby ATL.

This is what player of the match, Richardson said about the game today and what the season has been so far to Georgia Stone:

“Trying to chase wins, the last couple of weeks, I mean we’ll take that. But we are a team that played a good 60 minutes and then the last 20 was a different story. I think today it was the opposite, we did not have a great first 20 and then had a great 60. But I feel like if we put it together, we will probably get that win.”

Rugby ATL already won the Fire and Ice Cup earlier this year against the Arrows. However, this draw will sting for Atlanta, as they lost some crucial points in the Eastern Conference standings.

Mitch Richardson on Playing for the Toronto Arrows

As for the Arrows, this game was a morale booster for a club that is currently going through a tough season. They have now ended their seven-game losing streak with a draw on Friday. Also, there should be a round of applause for the fans that made it to the Toronto game on Friday. The game was on a weekday and a lot of attention on that day from the media in general was drawn to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs, Toronto’s NHL team faced the Florida Panthers also in Toronto, at around the same time in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

However, there is still pride and character in playing for the Arrows. This is what Richardson said about playing with Toronto as it is the only professional rugby union team in Canada (yes, that might change in the near future with the potential Vancouver MLR team). He was asked a question about possibly impressing Rugby Canada from Stone:

“Yeah, it’s always a dream, you know, to represent your country. But when you take pride in this jersey, and it being the only Canadian team in the league, you know, you kind of represent Canada, so we get a feeling for it. So it’s just like putting on the red jerseys. You know, you want to fight for the badge.”

Where both teams stand in the MLR standings

This month is the second last month for the MLR season. The Eastern Conference is very tight as three teams from each conference make it to the playoffs. The Eastern Conference is very tight as the second to fifth-place teams have the same number of wins. Rugby ATL currently sits in fourth position in the Eastern Conference. If they have won that game against the Arrows, they would have been closer to Rugby New York and Old Glory DC in terms of points. Fortunately for Atlanta, the NOLA Gold lost at home against the San Diego Legion, putting New Orleans in fifth position. Old Glory DC also lost to the New England Free Jacks and is only three points ahead of Atlanta.

As for the Arrows, it is hard to see them make the MLR playoffs, but anything is possible. With five games left, they are 15 points behind New Orleans, who currently has the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference. Toronto’s record right now is similar to the Dallas Jackals and the expansion side, the Chicago Hounds, who both reside in the Western Conference.

Games coming up for both teams

Both Toronto and Atlanta have two games left in May. The Arrows will host Old Glory DC at York Lions Stadium on FS2 at York Lions Stadium and it will be televised nationally on TSN2. They will then travel to Boston to face the New England Free Jacks at 4:00 p.m. ET at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Atlanta fans may want to see how Toronto does against Washington D.C. and see if Toronto can get a result as it could have playoff implications. The Arrows-Free Jacks game will be shown televised nationally in Canada on TSN2 and will also be shown on NBCSB, and The Rugby Network.

This is while Rugby ATL will be facing two Western Conference teams to end the month. The first one is a home match against the Dallas Jackals at Silverbacks Park. That game will be shown live on May 20 at 12:00 p.m. ET on FS1. They will then travel to Herriman, Utah, where they will face the Utah Warriors on May 27. That game will be shown live on May 27 at Zions Bank Stadium. It will be shown live on KMYU, TRN, ESPN 900, ESPN 700, FM 92.1, and KOOL FM.


Photo Credit: Kyle Gilmor of the Toronto Arrows on May 12, 2023.