Rugby ATL will host the Fire and Ice Cup in a Major League Rugby week 1 match against the Toronto Arrows at Silverbacks Park in Atlanta on Friday, February 17. The kickoff is at 7 pm ET and the match will be streamed on The Rugby Network in the U.S., Canada, and internationally and will also be streamed in Canada on TSN+, TSN.ca, and the TSN app. Click here to buy tickets.
The teams have had a strong connection since 2021 when the Arrows were forced to relocate to the United States due to pandemic-related travel restrictions. Rugby ATL shared resources and facilities with the Arrows so they could continue playing while away from home. The Fire and Ice Cup commemorates the bond that was created through that experience.
Rugby ATL first won the inaugural Fire and Ice Cup 33-29 in 2021 and again in 2022 after 34-23 and 20-14 wins.
Rugby ATL began the preseason with a comeback 31-31 draw against the Utah Warriors. They then played two 40 minutes halves at Panama City, Florida last weekend, defeating the Chicago Hounds 26-7 and then losing to the American Raptors with a second side, 14-0.
Rugby ATL will look to gain early season momentum with a win over the Toronto Arrows. The Eastern Conference will be very competitive this season and bonus points could make the difference in a playoff bid.
Rugby ATL will need to rotate some of their foreign players this season as they have more than the 10 allocated spots. Head Coach Stephen Britt has named a starting 15 with two new additions. Jack Shaw, at wing, is a former Canadian U20, and Rewita Biddle is a Kiwi center. The team also has three new players as replacements. Ben Strang is a New Zealand hooker who was born in Maryland, Jordan Brown, is an Australian lock, and Seth Purdey, a former Canadian U20.
The Toronto Arrows traveled by bus to the Legacy Center in Brighton, Michigan for a preseason match against Rugby New York. The team led at halftime before losing 40-28. Last Friday, the Arrows were tied with Old Glory DC at The St. James in Springfield, Virginia 7-7 before losing 42-14.
The Arrows hope that they have sorted out effective player combinations during the preseason to emerge with an opening-day win.
Toronto Arrows Head Coach Peter Smith has named his match-day 23, which includes the team’s maximum 8 foreign player spots. Nine new signings will make their Arrows debuts as starters: Benn, Breen, Davis, Larsen, O’Donnell, Syminton, Tasi, Thomas, and Torrance-Read, while two could make their debut as replacements: Goodall, and O’Leary.
Nine squad members are full Canadian internationals: Braude (12 caps), Davis (7 caps), Flesch (2 caps), McRogers (1 cap), O’Leary (14 caps), Rowland (9 caps), Rumball (47 caps), Sheppard (11 caps), Thomas (11 caps).
Thanks for being at the forefront of keeping the rugby community informed about players unavailable due to injuries. We hope all the players recover quickly.
Squads With DJCoil Rugby Player Article Links
Rugby ATL: 1 Alex Maughan 2 Tiaan Erasmus 3 John Roy Jenkinson 4 Justin Basson 5 Johan Momsen (C) 6 Vili Helu 7 Daemon Torres 8 Jason Damm 9 Rowan Gouws 10 Kurt Coleman 11 Jack Shaw 12 Rewita Biddle 13 Will Leonard 14 Austin White 15 Martini Talapusi 16 Ben Strang 17 Jonas Petrakopoulos 18 Wikus Gronewald 19 Jordan Brown 20 Ross Deacon 21 Ryan Rees 22 Duncan Van Schalkwyk 23 Seth Purdey
Toronto Arrows: 1 Conan O’Donnell 2 Gene Syminton 3 Isaac Salmon 4 Mason Flesch 5 Miciah Torrance-Read 6 Travis Larsen 7 Lucas Rumball (C) 8 Corey Thomas 9 Ross Braude 10 Sam Malcolm or 11 Nic Benn 12 Tautalatasi Tasi 13 Mitch Richardson 14 Cole Davis 15 Ciaran Breen 16 Jack McRogers 17 Lolani Faleiva 18 Tyler Rowland 19 Adriaan Wadden 20 Mike Sheppard 21 Cole Brown 22 Shane O’Leary 23 Fabian Goodhall