Analysis: 2021 MLR Toronto Arrows Draft

Toronto Arrows players celebrate Guiseppe Du Toit try at Sam Boyd Stadium

The 2021 MLR (Major League Rugby) Toronto Arrows draft was the debut process for the North American franchise, and the side will be boosted by their selection.

As an overview, the MLR Collegiate Draft aims to provide a structure for managing the transfer of men’s rugby players from college to Major League Rugby in the USA and Canada.

Analysis: 2021 MLR Toronto Arrows Draft

With their picks affirmed, it was clear that they also made a conscious effort to draft only Canadians in this 2021 MLR draft. A nod towards Toronto’s development goals, it is noted that all three players were drafted from Canadian universities. That is something the Arrows need to be applauded for. They are setting a standard for growing the game in Canada.

Now, Last Word on Rugby identifies each of the men selected.

Logan Martin-Feek

Logan Martin-Feek played at the University of Victoria (University of Victoria Vikes). He has represented Canada in the under 17 and 19 levels.  He is a dual Canadian/New Zealand player who grew up in Victoria, British Columbia.

Martin-Feek describes the feeling of being the first-ever draft by Toronto. He was interviewed by Jai Mohit on the Toronto Arrows YouTube account: “Oh, just ecstatic from the family um phone calls from my sister down New Zealand my brother came over as he always does with a few bottles of champagne whenever something exciting happens and then um parents were extremely proud, extremely excited for me”.

He then explained what he would do after hearing his name called out, “well bottles of champagne, and spending with family. You can’t ask for a better night.”

Martin-Feek was drafted fourth in the nights draw. The interview also gave an insight into what positions Martin-Feek might or probably will play for the Arrows. He prefers fly-half but said that he can also play inside-center. It is important to note though that Martin-Feek said it depends on the playing style being used.

Sam Mace

Mace is a hooker from the University of Ottawa, who played for the Ottawa Gee-Gees. Mace’s hometown is Odessa, Ontario yet he will now go from the capital to living and playing in Canada’s financial center with the Arrows.

 

The young player’s elation at being selected was recorded in this Tweet. Mace was interviewed by Mackenzie Krueger from the Toronto Arrows YouTube account:

“Yeah um, just an incredible experience and having that momentum collectively you know it was a big moment for myself obviously but a big moment for the team and the school so you know my legs were shaking and yeah it was just an experience that’s going to be my mind for the rest of my life for sure.”

Bryce Worden

Bryce Worden is a tighthead prop drafted from the University of British Columbia. Worden’s hometown in Canada is in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Worden has a number of years of first-grade rugby under his belt. He played for the Burnaby Lake Bears rugby club. A celebrated member of the club, Worden captained the B.C. Bears roster. His experience includes representative rugby too, with appearances for a BC XV in 2019. Starting for the British Columbia (BC) XV, his performance was noted on the BC Rugby News website.

It reported in its analysis that ‘Some notable performances from Cole Mosychuk, Adam McQueen, Reid Watkins, and a few other BC players. The BC scrum was solid in the first half with John Braddock, Tom Larder, Bryce Worden but fell apart in the second half when the subs came in.’

Toronto Arrows Draft picks endorse ‘local players’

The Toronto Arrows should be given credit for drafting Canadian university players in the MLR draft. All the other players drafted in MLR (except for Emerson Prior from Trent University, who was picked 37th overall by the Utah Warriors) were from American colleges (American colleges are the equivalent to Canadian universities). Yet again, the Arrows set the tone for promoting and improving the standard of the Canadian rugby union. This does not usually happen in other sports. The Toronto Raptors for example typically only pick players from American colleges.

If these Canadian players play well, it might convince some American MLR teams to draft players from Canadian universities. Also, it provides a framework for how another potential Canadian MLR franchise should operate. These players will now look forward to playing with the Arrows next year, which will start either in January or February [to be confirmed].

 

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