The Toronto Arrows will play their 2021 Major League Rugby season out of Atlanta due to Canadian Covid-19 related travel issues, the league announced Wednesday with a revamped schedule.
The league’s fourth season will start on March 20 with the Arrows avoiding international travel quarantines by playing out of Atlanta, using the home field and training area of rival Rugby ATL.
In addition, the San Diego Legion will temporarily relocate to Las Vegas.
“The ongoing public health situation facing Canadians, along with the pressing need to determine where we will play our home matches, has dictated that we will start our 2021 season in the United States,” Arrows general manager Mark Winokur said.
“We won’t sugar-coat it — the situation won’t be easy for us, as we don’t know if we will based in Georgia for a week, a month, or longer — but we’ll keep our chins up and cross the hurdles as they come.”
San Diego, which boasts England coach Eddie Jones as a coaching consultant, moves to Vegas for the year as the Covid-19 pandemic has caused shutdowns in Southern California to combat spikes in cases and hospitalizations.
With the Dallas Jackals delaying their debut to next season, MLR will operate with 12 clubs, each playing 16 regular-season games before playoffs and an August 1 championship match.
“These are unprecedented times and the passion and resiliency of the Toronto Arrows players and coaches to make the sacrifice to temporarily relocate to Atlanta is appreciated,” MLR commissioner George Killebrew said.
“The MLR and its teams are working together proactively to ensure we are providing a safe and entertaining product in 2021.”