Toronto vs Free Jacks - Game #16 Preview, Lineups & Streaming Info
Source: Canadian Press
The world’s longest rugby tour will come to an end this Sunday as the Arrows’ host the Free Jack at their temporary home for the last time. The Arrows will be looking to end their season on a high note. They ended their losing streak with a great performance against Old Glory DC as Andrew Ferguson led the way with two brilliant tries. The Free Jacks are also coming off a high.
They had a solid win in a physical battle with Rugby United New York in the rain. The win temporarily kept their playoff hopes alive. However, RUNY’s win over the Houston SaberCats on Saturday ended their outside chance.
No Canadian content for the Free Jacks this week as Josh Larsen is away (and injured) with the national team. There are a few changes from the Free Jacks squad that defeated RUNY last week. Stephan Coetzee and Quentin Newcomer replaced Pieter Jansen and Erich de Jager in the front row. Vili Toluta’u draws in at number 8. This shifted Wian Conradie to blindside flanker and Tera Mtembu to lock with Conor Kindregan sliding to the bench.
However, there are plenty of big attacking threats remain in the backs. Beaudein Waaka sit 4th in league scoring with Dougie Fife in a tie for the 3rd most tries of the year. The only change is Tuidraki Samusamuvodre draws in on the wing with Harry Barlow (also to 10 in tries) moved to the bench.
Chris Silverthorn has opted for minimal changes to the squad from last week. There is only one change in the pack as Rob Brouwer will start at loosehead and Pat Lynott will come off the bench. In the backs, Tayler Adams is out and Manuel Montero draws in. This creates a bit of a shift as Sam Malcolm will now play flyhalf, Joaquín Tuculet moves to fullback and Montero will be in his usual spot on the wing.
The only new addition to the bench is the recently acquired Alex Russell. Russell joined the squad from the Pacific Pride and is capable of playing centre, wing, and fullback making him a good option off the bench.
This should be a huge physical battle as some of the best tacklers and breakdown operators will feature in this match. Four of the top five tacklers in the league will be in this match. Tomás de la Vega leads the way, but Wain Conradie, Joe Johnston, and Jackson Thiebes are right behind him. Much has been made of Lucas Rumball’s insane breakdown steal stat being double the player in 2nd. That player is Johnston and he will look to close the gap this week.
Ultimately, the Arrows and Free Jacks are two of the best in the league at generating breakdown steals. Rumball and de la Vega get the lion's share of the Arrows’ steals, while New England has more of a committee approach to it. Rumball is overseas as is Larsen. The Arrows will be looking to new recruits Ronan Foley and Ollie Nott to have a big game. Soon eyes will turn toward the 2022 season.
This match could be a big opportunity for them to put their hand up and show why they should be on the squad next year.
Malcolm vs Waaka
This is a big flyhalf matchup. Malcolm has injected some energy into the Arrows’ lineup since his return. Sammy the Boot finally scored his first MLR try last week after the years of dominating with the boot. Malcolm’s defense has always been brilliant and one of his best assets. It will be needed as the New England counters with Waaka.
As mentioned above, Waaka sits 4th in league scoring. He has 2 tries with the remaining 80 points coming off his boot. The former All Blacks Sevens star has quick pace and can create attacking opportunities from seemingly nothing. Malcolm will certainly look to eliminate those opportunities. The Arrows did well to control the territory last week. Malcolm and Tuculet will be charged with making sure that continues this week.
The Arrows’ final match of the 2021 season kicks off at noon on Sunday. You can catch the game on TSN3, tsn.ca, the TSN app, or the Rugby Network!