The 2023 MLR draft Toronto Arrows game happened a week ago. Canada’s only professional rugby union team as usual selected players from Canadian universities. However, this time, they drafted players from Quebec universities. These players will likely play in the new Arrows gear including the refreshed logo that was revealed on Tuesday, September 12, 2023.
2023 MLR draft Toronto Arrows: Quebec Universities Shine
— Toronto Arrows RFC (@TorontoArrows) September 12, 2023
Louis Millet (Selected 15th overall)
Millet, native to Toulouse, France, is a 22-year-old senior coming out of Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec. He is a six-foot-three, 215-pound loose forward. He played for the Gaiters and helped them with a 2022 RSEQ semi-final appearance. He was also named as an RSEQ first-time all-star. Also, at Bishop’s University, he studied for a Bachelor of Business Administration – BBA, Sports Studies. Additionally, he also played for UBCOB Ravens when playing SLAR sides like the Penarol and Jaguares XV. He also made his senior debut in a loss against Samoa.
This is what Millet said in the Le Rouge Rugby Podcast (Stu Hardy and Derek Bressette co-hosts the podcast):
“I’m going to say that like Canadian rugby brought me as much as French rugby uh it gave me a different sense of work a different sense of how to return goals so in that sense like Canadian rugby brought much more I mean much more to me,” Millet said. “I am genuinely grateful for Canadian rugby because personally, Canadian rugby helped me reach certain goals that I would have never thought of before from a confident standpoint to a work ethic, a certain mindset, a different type of competitiveness, it helped me grow so much that I much rather be a part of a project when where I can bring something to the table on and off the field right off the bat.”
It will be great to see Millet continue his journey with Canada, this time with Canada’s only professional rugby union team, the Toronto Arrows.
Monty Weatherall (Selected 28th overall)
Monty Weatherall (seen in main photo above) is a fly-half who was drafted from McGill University. The 6’0” and 195-pound hometown is Amersham, UK, and started playing for clubs in England like the Amersham and Chiltern RFC. He helped his team finish second in the RSEQ Championship in 2022. In particular, Weatherall played a huge role in the quarterfinal win over Laurier. He won player of the game as he played a huge part in McGill’s lead (source: Laurier Athletics):
He was also part of the 2023 Coast to Coast Cup with the BC Bears.
Robert Povey (number two draft pick)
Trade Alert | We have acquired the 2nd overall pick in next months MLR Collegiate Draft from the Toronto Arrows in exchange for Rob Povey.
— Houston SaberCats (@HOUSaberCats) July 24, 2023
A month before the draft took place, the Arrows selected their ‘number two draft pick’ in order to obtain Robert Povey. Povey is an English-born back but has played 13 caps with the Canadian men’s national team, as he has a Montreal-born mother. The six-foot 195-pounder made his MLR debut with the Utah Warriors in that shortened 2020 MLR season. However, he made a name for himself with the Houston SaberCats.
From 2021-23, he scored seven tries with a total of 73 points scored in 33 appearances. This is what Arrows vice-president and GM, Tim Matthews said about Povey:
“We’re very excited to bring in Robbie, who has been a top player and respected teammate in our league for several years now,” Arrows vice-president and GM Matthews said in a statement, (source: Neil Davidson of The Canadian Press).
Povey did exceptionally well when he last faced against the Arrows. He scored in 11 points, in what ended up being a 48-26 win over the Arrows.
2023 Toronto Arrows MLR draft summary: Quebec Universities standing out
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) August 18, 2023
What was remarkable about this MLR draft was that the Arrows drafted two players from Quebec universities. This is different from previous years where they drafted either from British Columbia or Ontario universities. Tim Matthews, the Arrows Vice President, and General Manager, said this about the two new members of the organization:
“We’re excited to welcome Louis and Monty into the Arrows organization,” said Tim Matthews, Toronto Arrows Vice President and General Manager. “Our staff was thorough in canvassing Canadian schools for talent, and these picks reflect the strength of the game coming out of Canada, Quebec specifically.”
READ MORE: Analysis: 2021 MLR Toronto Arrows Draft
There were overall three Canadians picked, although both the Arrows draft picks should get residency over the new year, pushing that number up to five (source: Americas Rugby News):
The other Canadians picked included Gabe Casey, who was brought up in Ottawa and played for the University of Victoria. He was the highest-drafted Canadian in the MLR Draft, going to the New England Free Jacks. There was then Josh Halladay, who was drafted 18 by the Utah Warriors, who grew up in White Rock, British Columbia, and also played for Trinity Western University. Lastly, there is a hooker also drafted from Trinity Western University. 24-year-old, Scott Bowers, who also hails from British Columbia, where he grew up in Port Coquitlam.
Note: Best wishes goes out to everyone with the Bill Webb family and the Toronto Arrows organization with the tragic passing of co-founder, president, and general partner, Bill Webb. Everyone at Last Word on Rugby wants to give their sincere condolences and prayers to the Arrows organization, and especially to the Webb family during this difficult time. To learn more about Webb, Le Rouge Rugby (Twitter: @Lerougerugby) co-hosts, Derek Bressette (Twitter: @BressettetheJet) and Stu Hardy (Twitter: @H4rdMan) covered what Webb meant to the game of rugby union in this country and to the city of Toronto.
Photo credit: Matt Garies / McGill University