Mitch Eadie Ahead Of Toronto Arrows’ Pivotal Clash With The Utah Warriors
Written by Joe Harvey | Photos by the Toronto Arrows
The Toronto Arrows’ 2023 campaign has not started in quite the way that the team would have hoped. After four games, the side has won just once, their most recent result a 29-3 loss at the hands of Old Glory DC on the road.
New to the side this season is Mitch Eadie. At 30, Eadie brings nearly 13 years of professional rugby experience, the Englishman having represented English Premiership clubs Bristol Bears and Northampton Saints before his arrival in Major League Rugby.
A versatile back-row forward, Eadie has taken to life alongside Lucas Rumball and Mason Flesch well, although results have not gone the team’s way.
Photo by the Toronto Arrows
“It’s actually really positive,” Eadie said of the squad’s mindset, “seeing as we’ve come off a few losses. We’ve been reviewing the games in bits and bobs; the leaders have been going through it, and we’re actually not that far away.
“We pretty much need to take our opportunities more. We haven’t been the most successful in scoring points when we are in the red zone.
“I think that is probably one thing that the leaders and the coaches have probably said to us; that if we get in the red zone, we actually need to come away with points and score tries.
“That’s probably one thing we are looking to work on the next few weeks and especially around the forwards set-up as well.
“We probably need to score a few more maul tries and really assert our dominance there, so it has actually been really positive. It is not the start we wanted, but fingers crossed we can turn it around this weekend.”
GETTING THE BALL ROLLING
Last week’s defeat to Old Glory was the second time in 2023 that Toronto has been unable to reach double digits. Suffering the same fate in their face-off with the Rugby New York Ironworkers in week two, it has certainly been a chastening start to the new season.
Photo by Paris Malone
That is not to say that there have not been any positives. Traveling to SeatGeek Stadium in their third game of the season, the side was thrust to victory thanks to fly-half Sam Malcolm, the New Zealander kicking penalties, drop goals, tries, and a conversion to win 26-27 in the Midwest.
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A week ago, the team was not helped by the loss of Ireland international Noel Reid in the opening stages of their clash with DC. A player of such experience was undoubtedly a blow, although the Irishman’s loss helped the side prepare for this weekend.
“We just said that we can’t rely on one player,” Eadie said. “Everyone needs to step up when we do get these opportunities.
“So this week, we have had a good bounce back really. We thought that the Chicago [Hounds] game we won would get us rolling, that we would get a few wins, then coming back with a loss against Old Glory was disheartening.
“But we have still got the edge there, that we want to succeed and get the win. I think that’s a positive, that we are not losing momentum.”
GOING TO ZIONS BANK
Next up is the Utah Warriors. Traveling to Zions Bank Stadium this weekend, this game has already become important for the Arrows.
Greg Cooper’s team has also played four games thus far in the 2023 season. Like Toronto, fortunes have been mixed for the Warriors, the Western Conference side playing host to the Canadians with a 2-2 record.
Like Toronto, Utah will be looking to break further ground as the race for the playoffs continues. Aware of some of the faces in the Warriors team, Eadie, for one, is more than aware of the challenge that this weekend’s hosts pose.
“They have got some great players,” Eadie said. “They have got Paul Lasike [ex-Harlequins] with some good experience, [Josh] Hodgson at 10, who is another good Premiership player.
“We are looking forward to it, but we know we have got to earn the right to play well. We can’t just turn up and expect it to happen, and today [in training] definitely was a step in the right direction in terms of preparing well for the week and trying to put in a performance at the weekend.”
Photo by Tequila Graphics
For his first trip to Salt Lake City, Eadie will be in particularly unfamiliar surroundings. Playing at inside center, the 30-year-old has moved into the backs as a result of a slight injury crisis in Andrew Ferguson’s squad, Eadie likely to be used as a battering ram as his team look to break the gain-line consistently and drive the Arrows towards the try line in the hopes of picking up a second victory of the season.
SETTLING IN WELL
Upon his arrival in Ontario, Eadie quickly became one of the most experienced players in the Toronto squad.
A sportsman from day one, Eadie is the son of a former soccer player, but it was in rugby that the Bristol-born forward made an impact.
Debuting for Bristol as a teenager, Eadie would represent Scotland U20 and help his boyhood club back to the Premiership after seven years in the Championship.
Then spending some time with Northampton Saints before a return to Bristol, Eadie would play for second-division side Hartpury before boarding his flight to Toronto.
After so much time in professional rugby in his home country, the 30-year-old says it was the prospect of a new challenge that lured him to MLR and a new experience for his young family.
“I wanted to experience a new league,” Eadie said. “I wanted to experience rugby away from England, and this was probably my first chance.
“So it was just the experience side of it, I get to see some nice cities when I play away, and just a good experience for the family and me, really.
“You don’t get too many opportunities to come over to Toronto for six months of the season and then just go back to England.
“That was obviously the one thing, and the rugby side of it; just experience a new league, new refereeing, new players, gain knowledge of the game, and anything I can take from that will help me in the future.
“The city is amazing. It is an amazing city, Toronto. Me and the family have really settled in well, and the girls [Olivia and Darcie] really like it here, and my missus [Georgia] as well. Settled in well.”
(Nov. 27, 2023) – Major League Rugby (MLR), which represents the highest
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