Toronto Arrows Visit Old Glory for First Ever Matchup

Once thought to be the best of the best, the Toronto Arrows have had a rough start to the 2021 season. They’ve dropped both of their matches, so they will be eager for a win. That makes them all the more dangerous as an opponent. The Canadian side will be bringing a solid defense and a very physical game. Still, Old Glory is starting to really come together as a team, with an increasingly stifling defense paired with an increasingly confident attack. This should be a good one for the home crowd at Segra Field.

Details

  • When: April 3, 2021
  • Time: 5:00 ET
  • Where: Segra Field (map)
  • Channel: NBCSW (DC region), The Rugby Network (national & overseas)
  • Weather forecast: 53°F and partly cloudy, light breeze
  • Line: OGDC by 3 (from Tackle the Numbers)

Preview

How good are the Toronto Arrows?

The Arrows were at the top of many people’s preseason rankings after they put up a great 4-1 record last season. However, their 2021 campaign hasn’t started so auspiciously, with Toronto not yet putting a win on the board. They had a close round one loss to Atlanta, 14-21, before being blown out by the Utah Warriors 24-39 last week.

Some of this is certainly just a lack of preparation, as the effects of the pandemic have hit this team harder than most. Due to border restrictions, they have temporarily relocated to Atlanta, and by all accounts they haven’t had a ton of time to practice together. That could explain a lot of their recent poor performance.

However, the Arrows have also lost some key leaders from last year, with Dan Moor retiring and Sam Malcolm moving overseas. In many ways, this team is lacking the solid leadership that has carried it through adversity before, and that’s hurting their performance on the pitch.

Still, Toronto is not to be underestimated. They have a fearsome scrum that could cause problems for the Old Glory pack, especially once the bench players come on. They also have a good defense that could be lot to handle for a back line that’s starting several young players. Toronto has it in them to be a quality team, even if they haven’t fully shown it yet this year.

What does Old Glory need to do to win?

The match last week against Rugby ATL showed just how much potential this team has. After a rough first half that had them down ten points, the team adjusted and scored 24 straight to pull off a come-from-behind win.

Atlanta is a good team defensively. They hang their hat on their ability to shut down the best attacks in the league. But Old Glory was able to find gaps and exploit them, with strong running in the center by Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz and Mikey Sosnene-Feagai. They were also dangerous on the wing, with Sam Cusano especially impressing with long breaks down the sideline.

Defensively, Old Glory is starting to look like one of the best in the league. Their aggressive style of play, launching themselves forward and hitting behind the gain line, has effectively shut down their opponents’ attacks. They also have an excellent maul defense, which has made it difficult for teams to push into the end zone. Hopefully we can see that continue on Saturday.

One big area where Old Glory could do with improvement is on their lineouts. They haven’t been able to consistently win their own lineouts, with issues seemingly everywhere in the set piece. This could be an effect of COVID, and the limited time these players have had together, or it could be down to the quality of their opponents so far. But if it continues to be a problem, it will make it very difficult for Old Glory to get over the try line.

Players to watch out for

Keep an eye on number 8 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz and hooker Mikey Sosnene-Feagai, both of whom have earned a Man of the Match so far. As always, Danny Tusitala will be electric at scrumhalf. Watch for Sam Cusano on the wing, who will hopefully improve on his good performance last week.

There are also going to be a number of new players seeing the field for OGDC. Player/coach Callum Gibbins has shifted to the bench, likely to keep him healthy, so we will see former Arrow Luke Campbell get his first start at flanker against his old team. There are also a couple of fresh faces in the backs, with rookies Simi Moala and Daniel Thomas potentially seeing their first game off the bench.

Lineups

Old Glory DC

  1. Jamie Dever
  2. Mikey Sosnene-Feagai
  3. Steven Longwell
  4. Tevita Naqali
  5. Stan South
  6. Luke Campbell
  7. Mungo Mason
  8. Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz
  9. Danny Tusitala
  10. Mike Dabulas
  11. D’Montae Noble
  12. Doug Fraser
  13. Thretton Palamo
  14. Sam Cusano
  15. Renata Roberts Te-Nana

Reserves:

  1. James King
  2. Max Lum
  3. Jack Carroll
  4. Api Naikatini
  5. Callum Gibbins
  6. Daniel Thomas
  7. Simi Moala
  8. Josh Brown

Toronto Arrows

  1. Cole Keith
  2. Andrew Quattrin
  3. Tyler Rowland
  4. Adrian Wadden
  5. Paul Ciulini
  6. Tomas de la Vega
  7. Lucas Rumball
  8. Manuel Diana
  9. Ross Braude
  10. Tayler Adams
  11. Gaston Mieres
  12. Giuseppe du Toit
  13. Ben Lesage
  14. Mitch Richardson
  15. Joaquin Tuculet

Reserves:

  1. Jack McRogers
  2. Pat Lynott
  3. Liam Murray
  4. Mike Sheppard
  5. Kolby Francis
  6. Jason Higgins
  7. Will Kelly
  8. Pat Parfrey