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The Canadian press

Toronto Arrows try to shake off rust as they visit the Utah Warriors

The Toronto Arrows were limited in preseason due to COVID-19 protocols at home and didn’t look good in their 21:14 loss at Rugby ATL last weekend. Arrows rugby director Chris Silverthorn hopes for a smoother performance on Saturday when Toronto visits the Utah Warriors in the major league rugby game. “We’re better than what we showed, that’s for sure,” said Silverthorn. “We showed a lot of rust. And the lack of a preparation game really affected us this week.” That is not an excuse. All credit to Atlanta … We are sure to get better this week. “The game against Atlanta was the first in Toronto since March 6, 2020, when it lost 22:19 to the Colorado Raptors. The league then canceled the season due to the global pandemic. The loss in Atlanta was of a kind Argentine prop Gaston Cortes was sent off on his Toronto debut while second-row striker Paul Ciulini pinched his hamstring The umpire said the prop’s knee made contact with the back of the Atlanta scrum half, who was on the wrong side of a rucksack. Cortes was therefore banned for two weeks. “He has played pro rugby for 15 years and this is his first red card,” said Silverthorn. Two weeks is as minimal as it gets, I think. But there are still two weeks. “Cole Keith is moving from Loosehead Prop to Tighthead to replace Cortes with Pat Lynott, who has switched to the # 1 jersey. Keith played tighthead for the team last year. Mike Sheppard will start in place of Ciulini. Visit to Utah Austin was last Week 30-28 in a game where the Gilgronis missed a 52-yard penalty attempt in added time. The Warriors roster includes Vancouver Scrum Half Fraser Hurst and a large, physical pack of strikers. “They’re probably the biggest Team in the league and we are the smallest, “said Silverthorn. I think we can beat them at the speed of our game and our skills – and really move them in the park. That will uncover holes later.” The Arrows will show their skills on Saturday in the form of the Argentine newcomers Joaquin Tuculet and Manuel Montero, who failed to make the 23rd matchday against Atlanta. Both arrived in Canada late due to visa issues and only had two drills with the team after they finished their quarantine. “We just didn’t think they were physically prepared,” said Silverthorn. “You were in great shape, don’t get me wrong, but we didn’t want to take any chances.” Tuculet will start with the full-back while Montero is expected in the second half. The 31-year-old Tuculet has won 56 caps and scored 18 attempts for Argentina. “I think Tuculet and Montero are going to be pretty impressive,” said Silverthorn. The Arrows have settled in Atlanta due to pandemic border restrictions. Share facilities with Rugby ATL. While Silverthorn says the Atlanta team is very hospitable, the arrangements are “still in the works”. In addition, his team has to adjust to a less strict attitude towards the pandemic in Georgia. “It’s a bit of a culture shock considering where we’ve got to with our COVID logs … it’s a little different down here,” said Silverthorn. “Lots of people don’t wear masks. Everything is pretty open here.” The team tries to stay in a bubble as much as possible. Silverthorn prevailed against Atlanta with 15 internationals with 15 internationals – 10 Canadians, three Uruguayans and two Argentinians. Together they had a cap of 340. Toronto flankers Tomy De La Vega and Lucas Rumball were both named team of the League of the Week. The Warriors were cleared for more than 75 percent seating at Zions Bank Stadium for Saturday’s game. Toronto was 4-0-1 when the 2020 season was canceled last March. Utah was 2-2-1. — Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter.This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 26, 2021. Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press


Janet Smith