TORONTO — The Toronto Arrows will play at home for the first time since June 2019 when the Major League Rugby team hosts the Atlantic Selects all-star side Oct. 16 at York Lions Stadium.
The Arrows played the entire 2021 MLR season out of Mariette, Ga., sharing facilities with Rugby ATL, due to pandemic-related travel restrictions. The 2020 season was cut short after five games, all on the road for the Arrows.
Their last match in Toronto was June 2, 2019, when Sam Malcolm's 77th-minute drop goal gave the Arrows a 22-20 win over Rugby United New York at Lamport Stadium, sealing a playoff berth in the club's inaugural season.
Toronto has played 22 straight games on the road since.
The Atlantic Selects will feature top players from the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec.
"We couldn't wait until 2022 to play at home again," Arrows president Bill Webb said in a statement. "I think everyone would agree that we've waited long enough.
"We’re rallying around our fans for their patience and loyalty, but in turn, this match will also be an opportunity for our fans to rally around our team and build some momentum as we head into the 2022 season."
The Arrows will be missing some top talent for the exhibition match, with 21st-ranked Canada slated to play No. 28 Chile on Oct. 2 and 9 in a two-legged World Cup qualifying series. Twelve members of the Arrows were named in Kingsley Jones squad for the recent qualifying series won 59-50 on aggregate by the 16th-ranked U.S. Eagles
All fans will be required to show proof of full vaccination upon entry for the October exhibition match. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test will not be accepted for admittance, except for those with a verified medical exemption.
The Arrows recently announced the first of their 2022 signings, with backs Guiseppe du Toit, Will Kelly and Malcolm and forwards Ronan Foley, Cole Keith, Jack McRogers, Ollie Nott, Marc-Antoine Ouellet and Andrew Quattrin all returning.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2021.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press