Toronto vs Austin - Game #12 Preview, Lineups & Streaming Info
Source: Norma Salinas/Austin Gilgronis Rugby
The Toronto Arrows head back to Texas to take on the reigning Texas Cup Champions, Austin Gilgronis. It’s a big matchup for both sides as the Arrows will look to keep their playoff hopes alive. Meanwhile, Austin tries to keep pace with the Utah Warriors while simultaneously holding off the surging San Diego Legion in an incredibly tight battle for the final playoff spot in the West. The match will mark the final home match of the season for the AG’s.
Reegan O’Gorman will be the lone Canadian representative for Austin in this match. The big lock will be in the 19-jersey coming off the bench. Head coach Sam Harris has completely swapped his front row from last week with Jamie Macintosh, Robbie Coetzee, and Paddy Ryan getting the start. Macintosh will be one of three All Blacks in the lineup as Isaac Ross and Frank Halai start at lock and outside centre respectively. In the 23 jersey is Colorado XO’s academy product David Still, who was signed earlier in the week.
The former Saginaw Valley State University football player will get his first crack at pro rugby on Saturday night. The big name to watch is Connor Mooneyham. The first ever #1 draft pick has been having a brilliant season for the AG’s making a handful of highlight reel plays per game.
Cole Keith left last week’s match against San Diego with an injury in the 6th minute. Keith remains out of the lineup this week. To replace Keith, the Arrows have brought in Luke Schlotman on emergency loan from Rugby ATL. The 33-year-old prop helped Life University capture the USA Club Rugby Division 1 title in 2019. He has yet to suit up for Rugby ATL this season.
Siaki Vikilani will get his first MLR start after a good performance last week. Manuel Diana will make a rare appearance in the 20 jersey. Johnny Sheridan will make his first appearance of the season as he jumps straight into the starting lineup. Both Vikilani and Sheridan were welcome post bye week depth additions as they arrived from Canada.
Tomás de la Vega returns to the lineup. He will form an exciting back row with Lucas Rumball and the promising talent that is Vikilani. Will Kelly will make his third start of the season at flyhalf.
Statistically, Austin Gilgronis has the number 1 ranked defense in MLR. Three of their six wins have come with them scoring under 20 points. The defense has proven to be difficult to crack. They demonstrate solid great line speed giving attacking players little time to make a play. However, despite their position in the standings, the Arrows still rank quite high in attack.
If the Arrows can crack that line and Austin begins missing tackles, it could end up being a long day for them.
The counter to this is that if the Arrows can build a lead, Austin’s offense has struggled quite a bit this year. They are certainly a defense force to be reckoned with, but can’t always put points on the board. Austin is typically involved in low scoring affairs, so don’t expect this to be too much different.
The overwhelming majority of Austin tries come from the lineout. This is not unusual for MLR clubs as the lineout is the main origin of tries for a lot of clubs. However, no team relies on the lineout as much as the Gilgronis. Mack Mason and Kurt Morath can often do well to control the territory of a match. They can find that space to get lineouts deep in opposition territory.
That’s usually when Ross takes over and adds to his league leading lineout steal total. It’s a good method of attack for a team that can sometimes struggle. Austin is of course capable of a great driving maul on their own lineouts. The team’s leading try scorer is Macintosh with 3 for a reason. Jack McRogers’ throws will need to be pinpoint accurate. Mason Flesch and de la Vega will need a strong game with plenty of takes and find a way to disrupt the AG lineout.
You can catch the Arrows battle the AG’s at 8pm tonight on TSN2 and all their streaming platforms. For all your Toronto Arrows news, be sure to follow @BressetteTheJet and @LaymansSports on your favourite social media network.