Australian speedster Matt Hood combines rugby and business with the Toronto Arrows

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Matt Hood can design or help you manage a website. Or he can just run. When he’s not playing rugby for the Toronto Arrows, the former Aussie sevens speedster works in marketing and website development.

Matt Hood can design or help you manage a website. Or he can just run.

When he’s not playing rugby for the Toronto Arrows, the former Aussie sevens speedster works in marketing and website development.

While at the University of Sydney, where he earned a BA in economics and an MSc in management, Hood looked for a “super flexible” job that would fit in with his studies and rugby. An ad for a local Pilates studio looking for marketing help started him on the path to his business.

“For the past six years, I’ve been working part-time, freelancing, doing web design and trying to develop that on the side,” Hood said in an interview.

Hood says playing rugby overseas has always appealed to him, with Major League Rugby a possible destination after completing his stint with the Australian Sevens. A fellow Aussie, Paddy Ryan, was part of the San Diego Legion and offered to put him in touch “with the right people”, including Arrows chief executive Mark Winokur.

“The Arrows presented the opportunity and I jumped on it,” said Hood, who signed in late December and arrived in early January.

The fact that Hood had a Canadian passport helped, thanks to his father from Winnipeg. Hood Sr. met his future wife, an Australian in Hawaii, and eventually settled Down Under.

At five-foot-eight and 170 pounds, Matt Hood is a compact package. But a quick one. He has already left more than one MLR defender in his tracks.

In his three starts for the Arrows, Hood carried 29 times for 454 yards, which ranks third on the team behind Gaston Mieres and Spencer Jones in total yards carried and most yards carried per game.

Hood will make his fourth start on the wing Saturday when the Arrows (2-3-0, 10 points) take on the Utah Warriors (2-3-0, 12 points) at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman. Despite missing 10 players due to injury, Toronto’s Matchday 23 features 10 Canada internationals and one Argentina international.

“The experience was unreal,” Hood said of Arrow’s life. “It’s so different from anything I’ve experienced before in terms of coming. I knew absolutely no one, a foreign environment, a new place. In that sense, it was quite difficult.”

The club and its players have made it easy for him by welcoming him with open arms. He shares a house with his teammates Guiseppe du Toit, James O’Neill and Sam Mace.

The hope is that his girlfriend, who is finishing her masters in Sydney, will join him here when she finishes her studies.

Discovering North America was a plus. Hood started on the wing against the Los Angeles Giltinis in Langford, BC, before playing at Old Glory DC (Washington) and NOLA Gold (New Orleans).

He missed last week’s 21-15 loss to the New England Free Jacks, earning permission from the Arrows to use a week off before the game to return to Australia to attend a wedding.

Hood appeared in 25 games across seven tournaments for the Australian sevens team from 2017 to 2019, sandwiched around stints playing 15s for the University of Sydney in the Shute Shield.

He scored nine tries on the seven-man circuit, missing part of 2018 with multiple hamstring injuries.

He was able to play in events in Europe, South Africa, New Zealand as well as Dubai and Las Vegas. And he wasted no time showing his wheels, scoring his first try, against Kenya in Dubai by stalking a kick en route to the try line.

“I absolutely loved it. It was amazing,” he said of his HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series experience. “You travel the world playing a little football with your friends. It’s pretty hard to beat.”

Toronto Arrows Game Day Team

Cole Keith, Andrew Quattrin, Isaac Salmon, Mike Sheppard (captain), Paul Ciulini, Lucas Rumball, James O’Neill, Ronan Foley, Ross Braude, Sam Malcolm, Brock Webster, Ueta Tufuga, Mitch Richardson, Matt Hood, Conor McCann.

Substitutes

Jack McRogers, Rob Brouwer, Tyler Rowland, Adrian Wadden, Tomas de la Vega, Chris Bell, Will Kelly, Dennon Robinson-Bartlett.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 18, 2022

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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