Andrew Durutalo and Mike Shepherd have re-signed with the Seattle Seawolves. Both players are likely to make a big contribution for the Seawolves as they get prepared for the 2021 MLR season. Both players are also former Seattle Saracens players, an amateur team that plays in a Canadian league in British Columbia.
Mike Shepherd and Andrew Durutalo re-signed by the Seattle Seawolves
Seattle announces the return of two US Eagles. 8-man Andrew Durutalo is a seasoned veteran playing in Super Rugby and Premiership comps while adding 22 caps with USA to his resume. Front row Mike Shepherd has represented his country with the US Selects
— Rugby Index (@RugbyIndex) January 13, 2021
Andrew Durutalo – USA Rugby star
This player is well-travelled and has a great reputation internationally. His professional club career began with the Sunwolves in the 2016 Super Rugby season. In that season, he made 12 appearances and scored five points. He would then play for the Ealing Trailfinders from 2017-18 in the RFU Championship. Durutalo made six appearances for them that season with 20 points.
He would then play in Premiership Rugby from 2017-18, the highest level of professional rugby union in England. With the Worcester Warriors, he made six appearances but failed to get a single point in the Premiership Rugby league. He would quickly return to the RFU Championship with the Trailfinders from 2018-20.
In 23 appearances he made 42 points. He would then play with the Seawolves in the 2020 Major League Rugby (MLR) season. However, he only played one game, before the 2020 MLR season was cancelled because of COVID-19.
He also played for the national teams starting with the Fiji U20 team in 2006. With Fiji, he had five points in two appearances. He would go on to represent the USA Eagles from 2012-18 (the United States men’s national rugby union team) where he had 20 points in 22 appearances. He also played for the USA national rugby seven’s team from 2011-17.
Mike Shepherd set for return to MLR
Mike Shepherd has played a big role in the Seawolves franchise. According to DJ Coil Rugby, he was part of the 2018 MLR Championship run (despite having injuries). Shepherd played 137 minutes in five matches played.
Unfortunately, Shepherd also had a tough 2019 MLR season. He played four games for the Seawolves before getting injured. He would miss the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, in which the Seawolves repeated as MLR champions.
Shepherd was also part of the 2020 MLR season, playing in five games, which included starting three games before the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the rest of the 2020 MLR season and the playoffs. According to Americas Rugby News, he would score his first MLR try in a 31-33 loss to the Utah Warriors last year. Lastly, he played for the US national team U20’s from 2007-09.
Shep throws it in and Pelser on the take. Maul is stalled as we shift to crashing pods. After a few phases, Metcher dives in for TRY TIME!
Cima slots it.
🌊 7 👹 0 #SEAvUTAH 4’ minutes in.
— Seattle Seawolves (@SeawolvesRugby) March 8, 2020
Overview of the two signings
The two-time defending MLR champions are looking to bounce back from a tough 2020 MLR season. After winning the MLR championships from 2018-19, their record in the 2020 MLR season was only one win and four losses. They will want to improve that record in the 2021 MLR season.
They will look to Andrew Durutalo to give them a boost in the 2021 MLR season. For Shepherd, it is about getting more playing time for the Seawolves. The only worry is that he does not get injured as he did in the 2019 MLR season.
We're already looking forward to that home stretch at Fortress Starfire. 🏰
— Seattle Seawolves (@SeawolvesRugby) December 8, 2020
One of the big match-ups for the Seawolves will be the Toronto Arrows. The Seawolves eliminated the Arrows in the 2019 MLR playoffs. Both teams are set to play at Starfire Sports Complex on Sunday May 23rd and are a must-watch game for any MLR fan.
Both teams have faced each other four times and won two games each. This included a memorable 29-7 win for the Arrows, which was seen as one of the top five home Arrows games in 2019. The Seawolves’ first game will be on Saturday, March 20, where they will travel on the road to face the Austin Gilgronis. A mammoth date, as March 20 is also the official start date of the 2021 MLR season.
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