Five Must-Watch Plays from Arrows v. Gilgronis
The Toronto Arrows suffered a setback against the Austin Gilgronis on Saturday under the blazing Texas sky.
The Arrows started well, repelling most of the offensive onslaught the Gilgronis brought early on. Bold Stadium is right next to the Circuit of the Americas, and as the game wore on, Austin started to speed away from Toronto.
The match finished 47-21 in favour of fifth-placed Austin, but it was closer than the scoreline suggests. Tight kicking and a suffocating defence kept the Arrows in the game at the start before the effects of the sweltering heat took over.
Despite the loss there are positives to take from the game for Toronto. As with every game, the Arrows showed heart and determination right to the end. At the set piece, Toronto completely dominated their scrum ball, capitalizing on their feed repeatedly.
It is that scrum excellence that features predominantly in this week’s Five-Must Watch Plays. A controlling scrum set the platform for most of the clips below, and formed a solid base for the Arrows to attack from time and time again.
Massive Defensive Effort Wins a Turnover
After going up 3-0 early, the Arrows were penned back for most of the opening quarter of the first half. Austin poured on attack after attack, but the Arrows held their nerve in the early goings.
Conceding the ball at the line-out allowed Toronto to maintain a tight defensive line. Austin ran through the phases, attempting to draw the Arrows into a penalty, but Toronto stayed firm.
In the end, it was a claustrophobic defence from the Arrows that forced a knock-on and allowed Toronto to clear their lines.
A Crunching Hit
This is the only clip that doesn’t start at a set piece and that’s because it’s one thunderous hit you can’t ignore. Gaston Mieres take a bow.
A Solid Base and Great Passing Sets up 1st Try
There’s a lot that happens in this 49-second clip, so watch it once, and then again.
The scrum quickly hooks the ball back, and instead of swinging a pass out to the fly-half, Mieres comes off his wing as first receiver.
That play generates an overlap that only becomes evident as Toronto is five metres from the line. The Arrows forwards recycle the ball quickly at the ruck before the runner straightens and draws more Gilgronis defenders in.
Just as Toronto has sucked in Austin defenders, another quick recycling gets the ball straight to the backs. From there. it’s a few simple passes and Joaquin Tuculet goes over.
Arrows back within two.
Scrum Dominance Once Again
After their score in the 34th minute, it wouldn’t be until the 69th minute that Arrows fans had something substantial to cheer about again.
Another dominant scrum laid the platform for the Arrows’ second score. Austin gets lucky that a bobbled pass means Toronto doesn’t go over the try line seconds after the scrum.
Once again, it’s quick and clean ball retention for Toronto. The forwards go to work before an excellent pass across the face of the Austin defenders sets up a Ben LeSage try.
Just look at that pass.
Your Moment of Offensive Excellence
Stopping short of sounding like a broken record, but this Arrows scrum was so strong throughout the game. Off the back of the scrum, three dummy runs get Toronto over the try line with ease and speed.
The first deception comes from scrum-half Jason Higgins, running to the right of the scrum and freezing Austin’s scrum-half and fly-half. Then a deep run from Arrows fullback Tuculet – who was lined up on the other side – generates an overlap.
The third and final dummy run sucks in two Austin defenders and then it’s speed all the way over for Toronto’s final try of the match.
Every game there is at least one moment of attacking brilliance, and this is it. I’ve explained it, now you watch it.
The Toronto Arrows are back against Eastern Conference competition next, facing off with the NOLA Gold. The Gold are sitting in fourth, nine points above the sixth-placed Arrows. These two played a tight one back on May 2, with NOLA edging out a victory. Toronto will look to put an end to their winning drought on June 19 at 4:30 p.m. ET.
About the Author:
Oliver Smith is writer, podcast host and sports fanatic. Growing up in London, England, he moved to Toronto, Canada in 2010 before graduating with Honours at Queen’s University. He has been a sports writer since 2019. Reach him on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Header Photo Credit: Hayden Sticksel
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