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Arrows Narrowly Drop 2021 Opener In Atlanta

March 22, 2021 - Major League Rugby (MLR) - Toronto Arrows News Release

Move the coffee table and keep the beer fridge safe. This "Battle of the Roommates" was an intense affair, indeed. Rugby ATL is playing host to Toronto this season as the Arrows temporary relocate to the United States amidst the pandemic, and the familiarity between the two squads was on full display.

ATL built a reputation as one of MLR's best defensive teams a year ago, while Toronto's explosive offense produced the league's best point differential and a 4-1 record at the shutdown. It looked like the Arrows' attack might take the edge in this one, as the visitors scored just three minutes in. Hooker Jack McRogers knifed through the ATL defense to score his first try on his first start for the club, and it was 7-0 early.

ATL responded four minutes later before big Argentinian flanker Tomy de la Vega scored to put his squad back up, 14-7. A huge clearance kick put ATL in Toronto territory to set up a break from ATL's #5 Johan Momsen. His offload to former Colorado Raptors' flanker Connor Cook had the home team knocking on the door inside the five-metre line. Some patient, sustained picks were ultimately rewarded when Momsen finished the opportunity his break created. The conversion from #12 Bautista Ezcurra knotted things up with 18 minutes to go in the first half.

That score held until just before the break, when ATL's rolling maul delivered the lead and the momentum. It looked like it would be a high-scoring affair after 40 minutes, but both defenses stood up in the second half.

ATL came into the match with well-earned pride in its defense. It answered the bell time and again as Toronto threatened throughout the second half, but was knocked backward each time. When the final whistle blew, it was ATL that hit the locker room with a 21-14 victory.

Three Arrows earned their MLR debuts on Saturday evening, with Gaston Cortes, Adrian Wadden, and Jason Higgins picking up their first caps.

The Arrows enter Week Two of the 2021 season with a clash against the 1-0-0 Utah Warriors on Saturday, Mar. 27, with kickoff set for 9 p.m. ET.

Toronto Arrows Stat Leaders

Ball Carries: M. Diana - 15

Carry Metres: L. Leivas - 82

Tackles Made: T. de la Vega, L. Rumball - 12

Rugby ATL Stat Leaders

Ball Carries: B. Ezcurra - 13

Carry Metres: B. Ezcurra - 64

Tackles Made: R. Gouws - 19

Toronto Arrows Score Report

Tries: J. McRogers (2*), T. de la Vega (11)

Conversions: A. Ferguson (12)

*seven-point try

Rugby ATL Score Report

Tries: C. Wenglewski (6), J. Momsen (22), N. Gericke (38)

Conversions: B. Ezcurra 3 (7, 23, 39)

Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. Rugby ATL

Cole Keith

Jack McRogers

Gaston Cortes

Adrian Wadden

Paul Ciulini

Tomy de la Vega

Lucas Rumball (C)

Manuel Diana

Andrew Ferguson

Tayler Adams

Mitch Richardson

Guiseppe du Toit

Ben LeSage (C)

Leandro Leivas

Pat Parfrey

Andrew Quattrin

Pat Lynott

Tyler Rowland

Mike Sheppard

Marcello Wainwright

Jason Higgins

Gaston Mieres

Will Kelly

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Major League Rugby Stories from March 22, 2021

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