Ontario Arrows – Glendale Raptors
The Ontario Arrows enjoyed a successful 2018 Major League Rugby exhibition season with a 3-1-1 record prior to extending their season with two losses to the Canadian Selects in May. The Arrows are expected to be one of nine teams for the 2019 MLR season.
The Arrows will face the Glendale Raptors, winners of the 2018 MLR regular season title and who finished in second place to the Seattle Seawolves in the Championship. The match is being held on September 16, 2018, at York Lions Stadium. Kickoff is a 1 pm and tickets are still available. [Online: $25, At the Door: $30, Youth (12 and Under) FREE]. The game can be streamed live through the Arrows’ Facebook page.
Both teams will have some personnel changes for the 2019 season and this exhibition match will provide an opportunity for the teams to assess team goals and to evaluate players prior to the regular season beginning in January. Both teams are expected to contend for the 2019 MLR title.
The Ontario Arrows have elected to field a team with many players with international experience. The Glendale Raptors have selected a team blending experience with some recent college graduates in the starters with many College graduates as replacements.
Ontario Arrows Training Squad
The Ontario Arrows head coach Chris Silverthorn named his training squad for the match against the Glendale Raptors consisting of the bulk of the Ontario Blues squad that won the MacTier Cup in Calgary, marking the provincial side’s sixth Canadian Rugby Championship in the last eight seasons.
Based on the challenge of the Major League Rugby match, the Arrows have also included some other talented players. The front row will be a solid one with Canadian internationals Djustice Sears-Duru at loosehead prop and Cole Keith (Atlantic Rock) at tighthead prop. BC Bears Steven Ng joins the team at hooker. Canada international flyhalf/fullback Pat Parfrey returns to the Arrows lineup for the first time in 2018. Belleville native Matt Mullins (No. 8), returns to fifteens after playing rugby sevens for the last three seasons. Locks are sometimes a challenge to find, and Ben Jones will be a welcome addition to the team.
“Glendale went 7-1 in their first MLR season and we know how fast and physical they are,” said Silverthorn. “We are going to put in a big training week, and we’ll be up to the task. We’re aiming to put on a show for our fans on the 16th.”
The Arrows lost several players since May. According to Americas Rugby News, “Scrumhalf Alex Gliksten has returned to England with Saracens and flyhalf Will Kelly has signed an academy deal with Dragons in the Guinness Pro 14. Hooker Martial Lagain has opted to hang up his high performance boots, and veteran prop Tom Dolezel is expected to do the same. Fullback Aaron McLelland is set to stay in BC with the UBCOB Ravens.” Back Josh Campbell was also not included on the training squad for the Raptors.
During the 2018 MLR exhibition season, the Arrows had one home match as ice cancelled a second against Rugby United New York. The Arrows would like to establish a fan base for their professional team and beating the Glendale Raptors on Sunday will help in that regard. As such, the Arrows have elected to field a very strong team consisting of many Canadian international rugby 15s and 7s players.
Ontario Arrows vs. Glendale Raptors Squad
The following information has been modified from release.
Glendale Raptors will be without Eagles lock Ben Landry and center Bryce Campbell for the 2019 MLR season. They left the team to play for the Ealing Trailblazers and the London Irish, respectively. Dylan Fawsitt also returns to Rugby United New York, as the team loaned several MLR teams players after the conclusion of their MLR exhibition season. Sam Figg (No.8) also retired from playing professionally.
The Raptors have changed their Academy system and instead of fielding a Under-23 team in USA Rugby club competition, athletes that are part of the Academy will train with the Raptors and should they not be part of the 2019 MLR squad, they will play with the Division 1 Glendale Merlins.
Mika Kruse, Jake Christmann, Carlo de Nysschen and Siale Maka had Raptors contracts in 2018. Alec Leddy, Max Dacey, and Ryan James were also prt of the player Junior All-Americans player pool for the World Rugby Trophy Qualifiers against Canada.
The Fall 2019 Raptors exhibition season provides opportunities for the team to assess players hoping to make the Raptors squad for the 2019 season. Players on the cusp of playing for either the Raptors or Merlins will receive increased playing time this Fall.
Head Coach David Williams has selected a squad consistent with team goals. The starting XV is a blend of experienced professionals, as well as a couple od College players. The reserves largely consist of recent college graduates, who are vying for a MLR professional contract.
Eagles scrumhalf Shaun Davies and flyhalf WIll Magie will anchor the backs. The front row is an experienced one with Blake Rogers at loosehead prop, James Delbozque gaining a start at hooker, and Kelepi Fifita at tighthead prop. Luke White and a late season addition in Dakota White are the locks. Connor Cook will be at No. 8.
In the backs, Former Eagle 15s and 7s player Ata Malifa is an experienced center. Wings Harley Dacidson was one of the leading MLR scorers. John Ryberg also started at wing on many occasions.
Flankers Jason Damm played for Clemson and he teams with MAtt (Sione) Masoe, a former High School All-American who played for Back Bay. At fullback Colin Greogry also [layed for Clemson. James Delbozque also starts at hooker with the departure of Dylan Fawsitt. Luke White, who is a loosehead prop, needed to play lock for the Raptors in the 2018 MLR season. He becomes eligible for the U.S. National team as of january.
The reserves are largely recent college graduates who hope to gain a professional contract for 2019.
Maxwell Lum, from New Zealand played for Wheeling jesuit University. Monte Gaddis is a cross athletic who played football for the Iowa Barnstormers. Ray Healey played for New Mexico Highlands. Thomas Kacor played for Western Michigan university, the Chicago Lions, and was a Collegiate All-American. Jonny Layne played lock and flanker for BYU and is currently a graduate student at the Unviersity of Colorado School of Medicine. Carlo DeNysscnen was part of the Glendale Raptors 2018 squad, as well asfor the Glendale U@# team. Campbell Jonstone played for Mount St. Mary’s and was a Collegiate All-American. Finally, Siale Maka participated in tEaglesles 7s camp, played with the Denver Barbarians 7s, played with Northern Colorado, and was part of the USA Falcons 7s squad in 2018 to South America.
Glendale Raptors: 1 Blake Rogers 2 James Delbozque 3 Kelepi Fifita 4 Luke White 5 Dakota O’Neil 6 Jason Damm 7 Matt (Sione) Masoe 8 Connor Cook 9 Shaun Davies 10 Will Magie 11 Harley Davidson 12 Ata Malifa 13 Mika Kruse 14 John Ryberg 15 Colin Gregory 16 Max Lum 17 Monte Gaddis 18 Ray Henley 19 Thomas Kacor 20 Johnny Layne 21 Carlo DeNysschen 22 Campbell Johnstone 23 Siale Maka
Ontario Arrows Training Squad
Forwards: Rob Brouwer, Paul Ciulini, Kolby Francis, Ben Jones, Cole Keith, Peter Milazzo, Matt Mullins, Steve Ng, Andrew Quattrin, Lucas Rumball, Djustice Sears-Duru, Mike Sheppard, Mike Smith, Josh Van Horne, Tom Van Horne, Marcello Wainwright
Backs: Andrew Coe, Riley Di Nardo, Lucas Hammond, Andrew Ferguson, Jamie Leveridge, Kainoa Lloyd, Kieron Martin, Pat Parfrey, Mitch Richardson, John Sheridan, Shawn Windsor