Toronto Arrows vs NOLA - Game #7 Preview, Lineups & Streaming Info
Source: Craig Boudreaux / New Orleans Gold
The Toronto Arrows are rolling into their week 7 match with the NOLA Gold coming off back-to-back 50-point games in which they won by over 40 points. The NOLA Gold awaits them this week. They have stumbled out of the gate to a 2-2-1 record, as they battle injuries to a handful of key players. The random stat storyline going into this game is that the NOLA Gold is the only team that played in the 2019 season that the Arrows did not record a win against. They will look to change that Sunday afternoon.
Any Toronto vs NOLA match begins with pointing out the fun fact that the two sides will be led by Canadian captains. Lock Kyle Baillie will ensure the Arrows are in for a physical affair. His work rate sees him among the Gold’s leaders in ruck arrivals. Baillie will be joined in the pack by fellow Canadian Eric Howard as he gets the start at hooker this week. Howard replaces Pat O’Toole who started last week.
The biggest Canadian lineup news for the Gold is that Castaway Wanderers centre Lachlan Kratz is in line to make his pro debut off the bench.
The Gold continue to play musical 10 jerseys as Nate Osborne tries to find a solution with injuries to JP Eloff, Robbie Coleman, and Nick Feakes. This week’s audition goes to Carl Meyer which allows Hanno Dirksen to slot into Meyer’s usual fullback position. The other big lineup note is that Cam Dolan will be playing lock as opposed to his usual position at 8. Dolan is one of the league’s best eightmen, but it will be Devin Short playing at the back of the scrum Sunday afternoon. The Gold loves to use Dolan with hard runs after scrums. It will be interesting to see how Short will fair.
Once again, Chris Silverthorn makes minimal changes to the Arrows lineup on Sunday. The 23-man squad features the same personnel, but some positions have been swapped. Andrew Quattrin returns to the starting lineup with Jack McRogers in the reserves. Gastón Cortes sees his first start in a couple of games bumping Tyler Rowland. The final change is Mason Flesch joining the second row. Mike Sheppard will swap jersey number 4 for jersey number 5 and Paul Ciulini will be in the reserves.
Cole Keith vs Dino Waldren
Five weeks into the 2020 season, Cole Keith and Dino Waldren were the two best tightheads in MLR. Fast forward to 2021 and Waldren is still one of the top tightheads in the league. He may be the most in form tighthead too as he is coming off a performance that earned him a spot on the team of the week. Keith has since switched to the loosehead side. The adjustment has been there, but Keith looks to be regaining the confidence that made you feel like the Arrows’ scrum was always a threat to win a penalty at the scrum.
The switch means that Keith and Waldren will be opposite each other in the scrum. This will be a fun battle to watch.
Tayler Adams vs Carl Meyer
Tayler Adams’ 64 points leads the MLR right now. Adams has been brilliant both on attack and in defence. He has been great with the boot as well, both off the tee and with tactical kicking. Adams has been one of the league’s top flyhalves to start the season. With Adams the Arrows are bringing to the table someone with unreal game management and the skills to exploit any gaps that the defense may leave open.
In Carl Meyer, the NOLA Gold have a great fullback who will be playing out of position. Meyer will have a tough task ahead of him matching up with Adams. The side effect of this is Meyer will not be occupying that fullback position. In their match against Rugby ATL last week, Atlanta was able to use their kicking game effectively. They routinely found space behind the NOLA defensive line, and were able to find grass with a lot of kicks. Meyer will be at flyhalf and his replacement Hanno Dirksen is typically a winger.
With everyone playing a little out of position, can the Adams and the Arrows use their tactical kicking to their advantage?
I’m really just using this section to remind everyone that Lucas Rumball has 16 breakdown steals this year. Most teams do not have that yet. Rumball and the Arrows have been dominant at the breakdown and they have been ending a lot of scoring threats because of it. The Arrows have one of the top defenses in MLR and their ability to steal the ball better than anyone in the league is a big part of that. Rumball, alongside Tomás de la Vega and Cole Keith have been instrumental in securing the ball when the Arrows are on attack.
Of course, the Arrows have one of the best attacks in the league as well. Cam Dolan, Kyle Baillie and company will have their hands full on Sunday afternoon. An additional bit of intrigue in this area of the game is that two of NOLA’s biggest presences at the breakdown, Ignacio Dotti and Pat O’Toole will be on the bench to start the match.
The Arrows will look to make it three in a row against the NOLA Gold on Sunday afternoon. You can catch the game on TSN2, tsn.ca, or the TSN app in Canada. You can watch it on the Rugby Network anywhere else in the world!