February 11th, 2022 Langford, BC. (ISN) – The Toronto Arrows fell 31-16 to the LA Giltinis Friday night to make history with a Canadian West Coast MLR game-first in front of 2000 + rugby fans at Starlight Stadium in Langford, BC.
It was noted that the MLR visit to the west coast and Langford came from a desire to provide more variety in travel schedule for the Arrows and LA’s faced delima as Nascar’s Busch Light Clash conflicted with their home venue schedule at the Los Angeles Colosseum. Victoria, and BC, with its long, storied, and well supported rugby history was a natural fit despite the added travel.
The Toronto Arrows would travel with no shortage of Canadian content for the match. A total of 11 Canadian nationals, residing with the team, would fill the roster. The loan, Victoria-born team member, sure to have been a crowd favourite, Ollie Nott, did not travel with the team. Nott is a graduate of the British Columbia Bears senior men’s provincial program and Rugby Canada’s Pacific Pride national development program, and played his grassroots rugby with the Castaway Wanderers and University of Victoria Vikes in the British Columbia Premiership.
The Arrows would own the first half, setting the tone early with a 10-0 lead over LA by the 12-minute mark, but would carry a small margin by mid-game with a 16-12 lead as LA would begin to impress. Toronto’s Will Kelly would open the scoring with his boot, splitting the uprights with one of his three penalty goals in the match.
Arrow’s Mike Sheppard would score next in the loan Toronto try in the game, taking a deflected Arrow’s ball between the sticks to dot the ball down. Another pair of penalty goals and a conversion by Will Kelly in the opening half would entertain a raucus, partisan Canadian crowd. LA’s flanker Angus Cottrell would score twice to keep the game close at the end of the first half.
The Giltinis would use inspired defence to take advantage of Arrow turnovers and ball misques in the second half, posting a three-try, 19-0 statement in the final 40 minutes to bounce back for the win despite playing with only 14 men for a total of 15 minutes in the half. LA’s Will Chambers, Hanco Germishuys, and Harrison Goddardn would all score trys in the final half. Luke Burton would add three successful coversions in the come-from-behind victory.
Giltinis head coach Stephen Hoiles was delighted with the improved patience and execution of his side.
“We got ourselves in a spot of bother early but we broke down the Arrows’ very good defence in time by battering away and showing patience until their line speed ebbed,” Hoiles said.
With the overwhelming show of local support, it is fair to say that this may not be the last time that the MLR looks to BC to host professional rugby in the province.
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