Canada's lone side Toronto Arrows departs Major League Rugby

Tue, Nov 28, 2023, 2:34 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Toronto will not take part in MLR in 2024. Photo: Getty Images
Toronto will not take part in MLR in 2024. Photo: Getty Images

The MLR (Major League Rugby) has confirmed the departure of the Toronto Arrows, Canada's only side in the competition, for the 2024 season.

The Arrows came into the league in 2019, making the semi-finals before going down to eventual champions Seattle.

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They struggled since, only winning one game in 2023 before being struck down by the passing of president and general partner, Bill Webb.

“It is with heavy hearts we formally announce that the Arrows will not participate in the 2024 MLR season,” Tim Matthews, General Manager of the Toronto Arrows, said.

“Despite extensive efforts, carrying on following the passing of Bill Webb was simply too great a challenge for the club to overcome.

"We are working with the League office and contracted players regarding next steps – and in the spirit of the club’s co-founder, we are also working with partners regarding the Arrows Academy and the continued development of Canadian rugby talent.

"To our fans, friends, partners and the broader rugby community, thank you for your support over the years.

The team had been a major pipeline for the national side, with six players included in the Canadian side that produced a 40-15 win over Brazil earlier in the month.

They are the fourth team to leave the MLR, with the Colorado Raptors withdrawing in 2020 before the Austin Gilgronis and the LA Giltinis were removed over 'uncertainty around their ownership'.

“We’re deeply grateful to the leadership of the Toronto Arrows who have cared so deeply about supporting and growing the game of rugby in Canada," added MLR CEO Nic Benson.

"Our immediate focus is on doing right by the Club and its players, as operations wind down.

“While this news is unfortunate, and we feel for all individuals associated with the Arrows organization, the health of MLR remains strong and we look forward to exploring options to bring a team back to Canada in the future.”

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