Toronto vs New England - Game #10 Preview, Lineups & Streaming Info
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The Toronto Arrows return to action following their bye week as they ship up to Boston to battle the New England Free Jacks. The Arrows went into the bye week on a high note. They put in a great performance and defeated the Houston SaberCats 19-10. The Free Jacks currently find themselves looking to put an end to a two-game losing streak. Perhaps even more importantly, the club will be looking to pick up their first win against an Eastern Conference opponent.
Despite sharing a similar 4-5-0 record to the Arrows, the Free Jacks have yet to find a way to pick up a win within the conference (however, they have feasted on the West with 4 wins in 5 cross conference games). The Arrows sit 5th in the East and the Free Jacks are 6th. Both squads can ill-afford another loss in their quest for the postseason.
The Free Jacks will be led by Canadian captain Josh Larsen. Leading by example, Larsen has been one of the Free Jacks best players in recent weeks. Another top player for the club has been Dougie Fife. The Scottish international currently sits tied with LA’s Angus Cottrell for the league lead in tries. Fife and Cottrell have 9 tries each.
Head Coach Ryan Martin has made minimal changes from his squad that took on Rugby United New York last week. Martin confirmed that Justin Johnson suffered a concussion last week. Former Shark Tera Mtembu will now get the start at blindside flanker. The backs feature the same personnel, but they have been thrown in a blender. Fife moves from outside centre to fullback. The equally dangerous Beaudein Waaka shifts to the wing forcing Poasa Waqanibau to take up Fife’s old spot.
The bench also remains the same with the exception of Matt Wirken taking the spot held by Mtembu last week.
The Arrows return from the bye week with a lineup that is quite similar to the one that defeated Houston two weeks ago. The starting XV remains the exact same with the only changes coming on the bench. Vanier Cup Champion Marc-Antoine Ouellet is in line to make his professional rugby debut. The tighthead prop will be in the number 18 jersey. Following the bye, the Arrows see Joaquín Tuculet and Tayler Adams return from injury.
Ultimately, the Arrows bench is loaded. The reinforcements should prove to be plenty to handle and give the Arrows a depth advantage in the match.
Following the bye week, we now have a clear picture of where everyone stands in the Eastern Conference. The Arrows and Free Jacks find themselves in 5th and 6th place respectively. Both clubs have 5 losses and cannot afford to drop any more games. A 4-6-0 record could prove to be too big of a hole to climb out of. Ultimately, this is a massive game for both sides as they look to stay in the playoff hunt.
Bonus points could be of great importance too. If given penalty opportunities, I would expect both teams to kick to the corner early. Kicking for points shouldn’t be abandoned all together, but if you feel the opportunity is there, both clubs need to start piling up some tries.
Saturday’s match will see two of MLR’s most physical clubs go head-to-head. The match will feature 5 of the top 10 players in tackles made through the first 10 weeks of the season. The Arrows bring Tomás de la Vega and Lucas Rumball while the Free Jacks counter with Wian Conradie, Josh Larsen, and Jackson Thiebes.
The breakdown will be quite the contest as well. Both clubs are two of the best in MLR at getting turnovers at the breakdown. Rumball’s breakdown steal stats are becoming the stuff of legend this season as he laps the field multiple times in this category. However, Erich de Jager, Joe Johnston, Thiebes, Waqanibau, and more have been instrumental in a getting plenty of breakdown steals for the Free Jacks. Sure, you still need at least three of them combined to match Rumball’s totals, but few clubs put in a bigger steal-by-committee effort at the breakdown.
The physicality should be immense and it could go a long way to determining who leaves with the victory. As a bit of a bonus, the lineouts in this matchup could be quite fun with Larsen an de la Vega going head-to-head.
You can catch the Arrows battle the Free Jacks on all of TSN’s digital platforms or the Rugby Network at 4pm. For all your Arrows news, be sure to follow @BressetteTheJet and @LaymansSports on your favourite social media network!