ANALYSIS – The only Canadian MLR and present professional rugby union team (as of right now) did their MLR Draft back in August. The Toronto Arrows MLR Draft was also similar to the one last year. This is in terms of Canadian players, as all three players drafted were Canadian and came from Canadian universities. This shows the Arrows’ effort to promote themselves as Canada’s team.
The 2022 Toronto Arrows MLR Draft Summary
Owain Ruttan (photo can be seen above) is a flanker from the University of British Columbia. He was drafted fifth overall in this year’s MLR draft. The captain of the team, Ruttan is a 24-year-old, who was captain of the team while his time at university. This is what Catch 22 Rugby said about Ruttan:
“The flanker has a good size to match the agile shirt, he’s standing at 6-3 and topping the scales at 104 kgs representing Canada at Youth Level for the under-19s and in the 20s, Ruttan links up with a stacked Back Road division in Toronto that also hosts Canadian Lucas Rumball, a partnership that has many in the MLR licking their lips at the prospect.”
He was brought up in Cobourg, Ontario. Ruttan did a combined major in science while he was at the University of British Columbia. His height is 6-3 and his weight is 230 pounds. He is also a well-known leader in both high school and university. In high school, he captained his St. Mary’s Catholic Secondary School rugby team as well as the local Cobourg Saxons U18 team according to Northumberland News. He was also seen as a leader with the University of British Columbia, which is a strength that will help the Arrows. This is especially true with the experience he will get in a professional environment.
Gabe Casey was drafted 31st overall from the University of Victoria. Casey specialized in entrepreneurship while at the university. The six-foot-three, 205-pound back is a 23-year-old, who won the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship title in 2019 and was a silver and bronze winner in the 2021 and 2018 editions of the tournament according to the Toronto Arrows.
The fly-half and full-back for the University of Victoria played recently for Rugby Canada’s A Team against Chile, in which the Canadians lost 36-25. He is also a native of Ottawa, Ontario, where he grew up.
Denver Fatt, the 21-year-old, was drafted 32nd overall and is also from the University of Victoria. He is a six-foot-three, 270-pound prop, that like Casey, won the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship title in 2019, and was a silver and bronze winner in the 2021 and 2018 editors of the tournament.
According to the Toronto Arrows, there have been already four former UVic graduates, that have played for the Arrows. Fatt and Casey will look to become the fifth and/or sixth players to do so for Toronto.
He is a native of Delta, British Columbia. Fatt has played some big games for the University of Victoria, including scoring back-to-back tries to give his team the early lead against the University of British Columbia on September 17, 2022. This allowed Vikes to get the win over the Thunderbirds.
READ MORE: Analysis: 2021 MLR Toronto Arrows Draft
Other Canadians Drafted in MLR
— Bryan Ray (@raysrugby) August 19, 2022
There was a significant increase in Canadian players drafted in MLR this year. There were seven Canadians picked overall, with four of them in the first round. Compare that to last year, when only one player was drafted in the first round, which was Logan Martin-Feek according to BC Rugby News. Additionally, there were four Canadian players drafted in MLR last year.
One of the four first-round Canadian draft picks this year includes Ruttan, who was selected fifth overall. He was drafted behind teammate Cali Martinez. Martinez was drafted by Arrows’ Fire and Ice Cup rivals, Rugby ATL.
This also shows the growth in the Canadian club rugby union in MLR. Other MLR teams besides the Arrows see the value of drafting playing from Canadian universities and giving them a chance to make a name for themselves in MLR.
The Arrows’ first game according to the Toronto Arrows, is going to be for the Fire and Ice Cup against Rugby ATL at Atlanta Silverbacks Park on February 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Also, Toronto’s first home game next season will be against Rugby New York at 4:00 p.m. ET on April 4.
Photo Credit: Wilson Wang of the UBC Thunderbirds on September 29, 2018.