Ontario Arrows vs. New England Free Jacks Preview

Ontario Arrows – New England Free Jacks

The Ontario Arrows will host the New England Free Jacks in conjunction with Sports & Entertainment Atlantic, in an exhibition match at the Halifax’s Wanderers Grounds on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. The Free Jacks, based out of Boston, were recently accepted into Major League Rugby for the 2020 season.

Gates will open at 1:15 p.m. ADT and the game will kickoff at 2 p.m ADT (1 p.m. EDT). Tickets are on sale now through Ticket Halifax. Ticket prices range from $10 – $22.

For those who can’t attend the match, the match will be stream on the Ontario Arrows Facebook page.

Ontario Arrows

Head Coach Chris Silverthorn has made seven changes since the September exhibition match against the Glendale Raptors. Mo Abdelmonem and Josiah Morra will make their debuts for the Arrows at flanker and wing, respectively.

According to Americas Rugby News, Moe Abdelmonem played openside flanker with the Halifax Tarsand for the Atlantic Rock. He also played for James Bay late last year, and with Spotswood United in New Zealand earlier this spring.

Josiah Morra debuted for Canada Sevens at Cape Town in 2016 and played against New Zealand and France during the 2017-2018 season.

Grant Crowell is 26 years old and plays No. 8. He was the leading try scorer at the Canadian Rugby Championship. He is from Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and played for Acadia University and then the Calgary Rams.

Liam Carter is a lock and played for the Atlantic Rock. Lee Keegal played scrum-half for Markham Irish and Kieron Martin played for the Hamilton Hornets. Both Keegal and Martin played for the Ontario Blues Senior Development team against the Indigenous Australian Rugby team this year.

Two other players, Cooper Coats and Alex Forest are from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, respectively. Halifax native Cooper Coats, 22, was the leading points scorer in the 2018 CRC and plays flyhalf or fullback for the Halifax Tars. He was a member of the Arrows squad during the Spring, 2018 exhibition season. Alex Forrest is a 25-year-old from Summerside, PEI, and played tighthead prop for the Arrows in their first match in September 2017 and again in their second match against Canada Selects in May 2018.

The rest of the team have previously played for the Arrows. Three players are Canadian Internationals: Brouwer (9 caps), Coe (7 caps), and Dolezel (16 caps). Three squad members are full Canada Sevens internationals: Coe, Hammond, Morra. eight squad members are Canada U20 program grads: Coe, Hammond, McRogers, Milazzo, Morra, Mullins, Richardson, Quattrin.

Jack McRogers returns to the squad after missing the match against the Glendale Raptors due to playing in the U20s World Rugby Trophy.

While the starting XV is an experienced side, many of the replacements are young players. This provides opportunities for the team to evaluate talent that will be needed as the team enters the 2019 Major League Rugby season.

Head Coach: Chris Silverthorn
Assistant Coaches: David Butcher, Aaron Carpenter, Cory Hector, Graeme Moffat
General Manager: Mark Winokur
Performance Analyst: Rodin Lozada
Athletic Therapist: Chris Kelly
Team Doctor: Dr. John Gillis

New England Free Jacks

The New England Freejacks were recently announced as joining Major League Rugby along with Atlanta for the 2020 season. Since then, the team has gone full throttle in playing an exhibition match with the Ontario Arrows and in announcing their CEO, Alex Magleby.

Five players, who played Major League Rugby in 2018, have joined the Free Jacks. Diego Maquieira played with the Houston SaberCats at hooker and previously played with Mystic River and at Northeast University. Matt Hughston played flanker with NOLA Gold and previously with Charlotte Rugby Club. Myles McQuone played lock for NOLA Gold and previously was the captain of the Fairfield Yankees. Tadhg Leader played flyhalf for the San Diego Legion with Ben Cima also playing for the Legion at flyhalf or inside center. Anthony Parry played for Rugby United New York, an MLR affiliate member in 2018.

Many of the players on the Free Jacks played with Mystic River, who won the Division 1 USA Club Rugby Championship in 2018. A large number also played with the Boston Mystics against the Ontario Arrows and Rugby United New York in an exhibition season in the Spring. Several other players played for the Boston Irish Wolfhounds with a few other teams represented.

Mystic River Rugby Club indicated that the following current and past Mystic players are part of the Free Jacks tour to take on the Ontario Arrows. These include Christian Adams,  Spike Armstrong, Jared Collinson, Steve Dazzo, Christopher Frazier, Steve Hinshaw, Owen Hundt, Devin Andres Ibanez, Jihad Khabir, Jon Kokinda, Thor LaFromboise, Ian Luciano,  Diego Armando Maquieira, Ronan Walton Mc Cusker, David McKenna, Connor Robinson, Luke Schlotman, Jackson Thiebes, and Erik Thompson in a playing or a traveling capacity..

New England Free Jacks Release

Boston, MA – The New England Free Jacks are riding north to Halifax, Canada, to face off against the Ontario Arrows in their first ever match on Saturday at 2:00 PM ET at Halifax’s Wanderers Grounds.

The Free Jacks’ vision stoutly centers around growing rugby in New England and helping the USA National Teams continue to mature into a world rugby power. This effort is reflected in the first team of riders for the Halifax match, most of whom are native New Englanders. In fact, 24 of the 26 players on the roster have ties to the region whether it be through their hometown, high school, college, and/or club. Virtually the entire squad is USA national team eligible.

Two-time national champion coach and Boston local, Josh Smith, serves as the head coach for this Halifax assembly and training week and will be aided by All-American and Dartmouth head coach, James Willocks, as technical advisor.

“I am tremendously excited and humbled for this opportunity to work with the Free Jacks and Coach Willocks,” said Smith. “The New England region has always been loaded with club and college talent—it is now time to bring all that talent together to establish a solid local base and culture for the Free Jacks to build of. The decision to come into the MLR competition in 2020 was a wise one, as this allows us to build properly for the long-term and work very hard to try and take our place amongst the other Championship Franchises in the city.”

Many of the first riders for this weekend have affiliations with USA Rugby national champions Mystic River or long-time local power the Boston Irish Wolfhounds. With this exhibition match occurring in the middle of the New England (NERFU) men’s club season, many players from other strong New England clubs have been unable to join in this weekend’s ride. In the coming weeks as the NERFU season winds down there will be opportunities for local players and transfer athletes to join the Free Jacks nascent talent identification and development process.

There is also plenty of college diversity from New England with multiple players having graduated from AIC, Dartmouth, UMass, Northeastern, Plymouth State amongst others.

Tadhg Leader is a welcome return to New England. A former Boston Irish Wolfhound, Leader has experience playing for the San Diego Legion in Major League Rugby, Connacht in the British & Irish Cup, as well as stints coaching various clubs. Joining Leader are MLR veterans Diego Maquieira, Myles McQuone, and Anthony Parry, along with national team capped flyhalf Ben Cima, USA Sevens Falcons Chris Frazier and Matt Hughston (who will serve as match day captain) to add valuable experience in trying conditions against a formidable Ontario Arrows outfit.

New England Free Jacks Roster
Name Club Country Eligibility
1. Luke Schlotman | Life | USA
2. Diego Maquieira | Mystic River | USA
3. Anthony Parry | NYAC | USA
4. Ronan McCusker | Mystic River | USA/Ireland
5. Jackson Thiebes | Mystic River | USA
6. Owen Hundt | Mystic River | USA
7. Matt Hughston (C) | Charlotte | USA
8. Chris Frazier | Mystic River | USA
9. Erik Thompson | Mystic River | USA
10. Ben Cima | Rocky Gorge | USA
11. Christian Adams | Mystic River | USA
12. Tadhg Leader | St. Louis Royals | USA/Ireland
13. Peter Lupton (VC) | Boston Irish Wolfhounds | USA/England
14. Steve Dazzo | Mystic River | USA
15. Danny Collins | Boston Irish Wolfhounds | USA
16. Stephen Hinshaw | Mystic River | USA
17. David McKenna | Mystic River | USA
18. Sean Moran | Boston Irish Wolfhounds | USA
19. Myles McQuone | Fairfield Yankees | USA
20. Thor Lafromboise | Mystic River | USA

21. Jon Kokinda | Mystic River | USA
22. Ian Luciano | Mystic River | USA
23. Jihad Khabir | Mystic River | USA

Traveling Players
Devin Ibanez | Mystic River | USA
Connor Robinson | Boston College | USA
Michael Armstrong | Mystic River | USA

New England Free Jacks Staff
Head Coach: Josh Smith
Technical Advisor: James Willocks
Assistant Coach: Kareem Afifi
Physical Therapist: Brian Davis
Operations: Owen Scannell
Manager: Ben Nathan
Media: Andrew Park


Ontario Arrows: 1. Rob Brouwer 2. Andrew Quattrin 3. Tom Dolezel 4. Mike Sheppard (C) 5. Tom Van Horne 6. Mo Abdelmonem 7. Peter Milazzo 8. Matt Mullins 9. Riley DiNardo 10. Shawn Windsor 11. Lucas Hammond 12. Mitch Richardson 13. Andrew Coe 14. Josiah Morra 15. Cooper Coats 16. Jack McRogers 17. Alex Forrest 18. Mike Smith 19. Liam Carter 20. Grant Crowell 21. Owen Schimpl 22. Lee Keegal 23. Kieron Martin

New England Free Jacks: 1. Luke Schlotman 2. Diego Maquieira 3. Anthony Parry 4. Ronan McCusker 5. Jackson Thiebes 6. Owen Hundt 7. Matt Hughston (C) 8. Chris Frazier 9. Erik Thompson 10. Ben Cima 11. Christian Adams 12. Tadhg Leader 13. Peter Lupton (VC) 14. Steve Dazzo 15. Danny Collins 16. Stephen Hinshaw 17. David McKenna 18. Sean Moran 19. Myles McQuone 20. Thor Lafromboise 21. Jon Kokinda 22. Ian Luciano 23. Jihad Khabir

Other Articles

DJCoil Rugby articles by Doug Coil are also available on Facebook. Other Social Media sites to follow or subscribe include Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for interviews.

About Author

North American Rugby News With A USA Slant