Toronto Arrows Announce Preseason Match vs New York (RUNY) in Indoor Fieldhouse in Buffalo
You have to hand it to the Toronto Arrows for their tenacity in getting their franchise going. Not only do they have to play the first half of the season on the road to avoid winter, they're now playing their preseason matches inside in the Buffalo Bills practice fieldhouse. It looks more like a super-sized barn than a stadium, and is the turf even rugby approved? It's the stuff of legends if 10 years down the road the franchise grows and becomes a significant fixture in the Toronto sports scene.
Toronto is an interesting sports market for rugby as it's also the 3rd year for the Rugby League pro team, the Toronto Wolfpack. They have the same issues with home fixtures except they have to fly to England for the first half of the season and don't have their first home match until May. They've survived and done well, drawing good crowds and being promoted once from Tier 3 to Tier 2 and almost making Tier 1 of the UK pro structure.
A lot of readers wonder when BC's entry into pro rugby will come and it's a shame with all the natural advantages in climate, a close rivalry with Seattle, suitable venues and a rugby savvy population that it couldn't have happened in 2019. It all comes down to money and the will to make it happen - both aspects apparently not aligned at this time... maybe 2020?
Good luck to the Arrows as they soldier on through the Ontario winter and rack up the frequent flyer miles until April. from Toronto Arrows
TORONTO, ON – Major League Rugby’s new northeastern rivalry between the Toronto Arrows and Rugby United New York is getting an early jolt ahead of the upcoming 2019 season.
The league’s two newest teams will meet in a pre-season match in Buffalo on Saturday, Jan. 12, with the tune-up fixture to be played in the warmth and comfort of the Buffalo Bills’ practice facility – the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse – in Orchard Park, NY.
“This will be our first hit out in 2019 and we are really looking forward to seeing some of our new players in action,” said Arrows Vice President and General Manager Mark Winokur. “This looks to be a physical game between two quality sides in a unique setting, and will be a great way to help grow the Western New York / Niagara rugby community.”
Both clubs are already well into their MLR pre-season preparations: RUNY defeated the Capital Rugby Union Selects and New England Free Jacks in tune-in play this past December, while Toronto achieved similar results against the Glendale Raptors and New England in a pair of autumn fixtures.
“We expect a tough match against a quality opposition,” added RUNY General Manager James English. “It is important we continue building up this budding rivalry, and we are excited to do that in front of our fans in Buffalo.”
The pre-season match, proudly sponsored by the Niagara Wasps Rugby Club and Hodgson Custom Rolling, will kick off at 4 p.m. There will be no admission fee to attend the friendly, though space is limited for spectators and standing room will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The fixture will be refereed by Moe Chaudry (Canada).
A post-match social event will be announced in the coming days.
Toronto kicks off its inaugural MLR season with a road test against the NOLA Gold on Saturday, Jan. 26, while New York launches its league campaign with an away match against the San Diego Legion on Sunday, Jan. 27.
About Toronto Arrows Rugby Club:
The Toronto Arrows Rugby Club is Canada’s first professional rugby union team.
Competing in Major League Rugby, the team is equipped to compete against top-tier North American club teams, providing emerging Canadian talent with enhanced and more frequent opportunities to hone their skills at an elite level.
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