Arrows Win Highlights MLR Weekend

In the third week of their inaugural season, the Toronto Arrows followed a late try with a valiant defensive stand in the final minutes to tally the franchise’s first ever win and the Major League Rugby Team of the Week award. 

Fullback JP Eloff led the high-octane NOLA Gold offense with 14 of his side’s 41 points to take Player of the Week.

On the road against Austin Elite Rugby, the Arrows reshuffled their starting line-up and scored first through Avery Oitomen’s 16th minute try. The two teams traded strikes, with the home side eventually grabbing a 19-18 lead in the 65th. But with five minutes remaining and the ball deep in Elite territory, Arrows outside center Dan Moor charged down an Austin clearance attempt and scooped up the loose ball for the game-winning try, securing the club’s first ever victory. Toronto’s 23-19 win vaulted them to third in the overall standings.

Eloff scored 14 of NOLA’s 41 points with four conversions and two penalty goals, finishing the match kicking six-for-six. In the 74th minute, Eloff set up a NOLA try with a massive line break, running half the field before the ball eventually ended up in the hands of JoJo Tikoisuva, whose converted try duly extended the Gold lead to 41-24. 

Eloff’s 14 points and his 153 meters carrying the ball topped the league, while his Player of the Week marks the second consecutive week a NOLA Gold player has won the award, after Taylor Howden won in Week 2.

MLR’s First XV of Week 3:

Loosehead Prop (No. 1), Jamie Dever, Houston SaberCats

Hooker (No. 2), Matt Harmon, New Orleans Gold

Tighthead Prop (No. 3), Morgan Mitchell, Toronto Arrows

Lock (No. 4), Lou Stanfill, San Diego Legion

Lock (No. 5), Apisai Naikatini, Seattle Seawolves

Blindside Flanker (No. 6), Eric Duechle, Seattle Seawolves

Openside Flanker (No. 7), Zack Stryffeler, New Orleans Gold

No. 8, Riekert Hattingh, Seattle Seawolves

Scrum-half (No. 9), Marcelo Torrealba, Austin Elite

Fly-half (No. 10), Joe Pietersen, San Diego Legion

Wing (No. 11), Josua Vici, Houston SaberCats

Inside Center (No. 12), Spencer Jones, Toronto Arrows

Outside Center (No. 13), Dan Moor, Toronto Arrows

Wing (No. 14), Tristan Blewett, New Orleans Gold

Fullback (No. 15), Jean Pierre “JP” Eloff, New Orleans Gold

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Conventional wisdom says that if you've played and beaten a team twice in a season, then the third time is enormously difficult; Saint Mary's put paid to that wisdom with a dominant 71-12 victory.