Arrows Call Atlanta Home For The 2021 Season
Source: Quinn Width
On Wednesday Major League Rugby and the Toronto Arrows announced that the club will begin the 2021 season in Atlanta. The move should not come as a surprise given the current state of the pandemic and the precedent set by the Blue Jays, Raptors and TFC all playing home games south of the border due to COVID-19. The Arrows will still host their training camp (officially scheduled to begin on February 8th) in Toronto before heading south prior to their first game. That first game will be against their new roommate’s Rugby ATL on March 20th, 2021.
The Arrows will share Life University’s Lupo Family Field as their temporary home stadium. Lupo Family Field was kind to the Arrows in 2020 as they defeated Rugby ATL 28-18 with a dominant scrum performance. Rugby ATL proved to be gracious hosts even last year, as the Arrows stuck around for the week before flying out to Colorado to play the Raptors. The club’s first “home” game will be against DTH van der Merwe and the LA Giltinis, a club that the Arrows now get the opportunity to play after the schedule had to be redone when the Dallas Jackals opted out of the 2021 season.
The Arrows announcement coincided with the new schedule release. With the conferences back to an even six teams apiece, the league has returned to playing everyone in your conference at home and away, while playing the other conference once. Each team will receive two bye weeks with the Arrows’ byes coming in week 10 and week 18.
Unlike the original rendition of the 2021 schedule, the Arrows also have once again received a home-heavy second half of the season. Following the week 10 bye, the Arrows will play their last 5 of 7 games at home. The Arrows remain hopeful that they will be able to play some proper home games in Canada this year. Perhaps this will give them the best possible chance of being able to host a game in Toronto.
Other notable matchups include a June 6th tilt with the San Diego Legion. Initially, the highly hyped matchup was set to take place in week 2. Many thought Arrows vs Legion was on track to be 2020 final and plenty of fans were excited to see the battle take place right away. Will it still have the same spice now that it is taking place in week 12? The Arrows’ will battle the Seattle Seawolves on April 17th in Atlanta. This will count as an Arrows’ home game.
Just prior to the Arrows’ first bye week, they will take on the Houston SaberCats, the other club they were originally not scheduled to play. The Arrows will be one of the favourites to win the Shield this year and they have a favourable final five weeks on their path to glory.
The Arrows will close out the year with home matches (wherever home is at this point) against NOLA Gold, Rugby United New York, Old Glory DC, and the New England Free Jacks, before a week 18 bye. That week 18 bye could be extremely interesting with the playoffs scheduled to start the following weekend. If the Arrows season goes according to plan, it could be a nice chance to rest up before the playoffs.
Interestingly enough, the other team with the week 18 bye is San Diego.
The full 2021 MLR schedule is available here.