Source: NORMA SALINAS / THE CANADIAN PRESS
The Toronto Arrows have suffered their first major free agency loss of the offseason. Arrows legend Sam Malcolm has signed with the Kamaishi Seawaves of the Top Challenge League (Japan’s 2nd Division). The Seawaves have become a popular destination for Arrows players as Morgan Mitchell signed with the club following the 2019 season.
Malcolm was a fan favourite for the Arrows throughout his two seasons with the club. His kicking proficiency has earned him the nickname “Sammy the Boot”. His teammates always reference the fact he has “the heart of a lion”. Malcolm starred as the Arrows flyhalf in 2019. His iconic moment came in the final game of the season.
Malcolm slotted a game-winning drop goal to defeat Rugby United New York and punch the Arrows ticket to the Championship series. Arrows fans now refer to the match as “the drop goal game”. With the play, Malcolm etched himself into Arrows lore forever.
Malcolm is at the centre of the club’s most iconic moment in their young history, but he made a much bigger impact on the club. Malcolm was a cornerstone of the Arrows team in 2019. Heavily relied on at the flyhalf position, Malcolm rarely left the pitch and was a major factor on both sides of the pitch. He was excellent at distributing the ball and had a knack for finding his teammates at the precisely the right moment.
Malcolm finished 3rd in league scoring with 145 points (44 conversions, 18 penalties). Sammy the Boot proved time and time again that he is the most accurate kicker in MLR and had a knack for hitting those kicks in clutch moments.
The addition of Tayler Adams saw Malcolm shift to fullback for the 2020 season. The tandem worked marvellously together. It’s a shame that the year was cut short as it would have been incredible to see what they would have achieved in a full year. Malcolm ended the 2020 season with 92.3% kicking accuracy, the highest of anyone with at least 20 attempts. The highlight of Malcolm’s 2020 campaign was an outstanding 9 for 9 performance against the Seattle Seawolves that earned him player of the week honours.
Malcolm’s defensive game was outstanding as well. Malcolm finished the 2020 season with an astonishing 96% tackle completion rate. Malcolm always demonstrated his defensive prowess and made a number of critical tackles throughout his two year in Toronto.
In a match with the Utah Warriors on May 12th, 2019 Malcolm was given the honour of captaining the side and he became the first non-Canadian captain in Arrows history. Ultimately, Malcolm has become one of the most popular Arrows player’s amongst fans and teammates.
Replacing Malcolm will be no easy task, but the Arrows have been hard at work on that. Layman’s Sports has learned that the Arrows have agreed to terms with Argentine flyhalf Juan Cruz González. González is a former teammate of Tomas de la Vega with CUBA in Argentina’s club system and he has starred for the Argentina XV at the Americas Rugby Championship.
González was thought to have suffered a career ending back injury at the age of 25, however, he showed great perseverance and battled back. He returned to the pitch with CUBA in 2019 before signing with CAU Madrid Rugby until Covid-19 shut down the Spanish competitions.
González’s addition could open the door for Adams to play fullback as the team trialled in their pre-season matchup with the Warriors. Of course, the Arrows could also use Gastón Mieres, Patrick Parfrey, or Shawn Windsor at fullback, provided they are among the near 30 players that have re-signed for the 2021 season. If the Arrows go with option B, that could create an interesting battle between González, Adams, and Will Kelly for the 10 jersey.
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