23 July 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO, ON – The Toronto Arrows are pleased to announce a fourth group of significant signings ahead of the 2021 Major League Rugby season.
The club is pleased to confirm that Tayler Adams, Manuel Diana, Guiseppe du Toit, Leandro Leivas, and Ben LeSage have recommitted for the 2021 season.
Fly-half | Auckland, New Zealand
Adams started all five matches in his first season with the club, with the creative fly-half running for 166 carry metres, delivering 87 passes, and amassing 1,146 kicking metres. Proficient from the tee, the Auckland native also kicked for nine points in the abbreviated campaign, notching three conversions and adding a penalty goal.
The 26-year-old originally joined the Arrows following spells with Eastwood in Australia’s Shute Shield and Southland in New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup; he also played two games for the Melbourne Rebels during the 2018 Super Rugby season.
While the former Junior All Black has played exclusively at fly-half for the Arrows, Adams is capable at both halfback positions, having notably featured as a scrum-half in the 2013 Junior World Championship.
No. 8 | Montevideo, Uruguay
Diana started all five matches in his debut season with the club, and made an immediate impact following his move from South America, leading the team in both carries (59) and carry metres (286). The tenacious forward also scored two tries in his first MLR campaign, and added 33 tackles (86.8% completion), five offloads, three tackle breaks, and a linebreak.
The 24-year-old No. 8 has earned 25 caps for Uruguay, and featured for his national team at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, notably scoring a key try for Los Teros in their famous win over Fiji.
Diana played his grassroots rugby with the Montevideo-based Old Christians Club.
Guiseppe du Toit
Centre | Maple Ridge, British Columbia
Du Toit started all five matches in the shortened 2020 campaign, and has made 16 appearances over his two seasons with the club. The cerebral back has made 98 carries, 702 carry metres, 183 tackles (90.6% completion), six linebreaks and five tackle breaks throughout the 2019 and 2020 seasons, along with scoring two tries and kicking for two conversions.
The 24-year-old centre has collected 16 caps for Canada since making his international debut against Chile in February 2017, including featuring at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He also represented the Canada under-20s in 2015.
Du Toit is a graduate of the British Columbia Bears senior men’s provincial program and Rugby Canada’s Pacific Pride national development program, and played his grassroots rugby with the University of Victoria Vikes in the British Columbia Premiership.
Wing | Montevideo, Uruguay
Leivas featured in four matches as part of the shortened 2020 season, and has made 13 appearances over his two years with the club. The hard-nosed speedster has scored five tries, run for 596 carry metres and six linebreaks, and added six offloads and five tackle breaks in 2019 and 2020.
The 32-year-old back has amassed 76 caps for Uruguay – second-most all-time for Los Teros – including making 63 starts and scoring 24 tries. He featured for his national team at both the 2015 and 2019 editions of the Rugby World Cup.
Leivas represented the Uruguay under-20s in 2008, and like his Uruguayan teammate Manuel Diana, played his grassroots rugby with Old Christians.
Centre | Calgary, Alberta
LeSage started all five matches in his debut season with the club, picking up 162 carry metres on 19 carries, making 37 tackles (84.1% completion), and adding three offloads, two linebreaks and a tackle break throughout the shortened 2020 season.
The 24-year-old centre has earned 16 caps – including 15 starts – for Canada since making his international debut against Romania in November 2016, and featured at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He also represented the Canada under-20s in 2014.
LeSage is a graduate of the Prairie Wolf Pack senior men’s provincial program and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds post-secondary program, and played his grassroots rugby with the Calgary Canucks.
“We’re honoured to have all these young men back as we resume our quest for the MLR Shield,” said Arrows Vice President and General Manager Mark Winokur. “Their on-field performances and off-field leadership helps our club build the type of tight, determined team culture we want in Toronto and Canada.”
“Tayler really lit it up this past season, and provided us with a different look at 10 that opened up our attack. We look forward to seeing what he can do in 2021.”
“Manuel – or ‘Manu’, as the boys call him – came in earlier this year and made an instant impact, notably scoring both our first preseason try and our first regular season try. His hard running and tireless defence make him a key member of our strong back row.”
“Guiseppe really took hold of the midfield this past season, and even though he is a veteran-capped Canadian pro, he is still only 24, and has his best rugby in front of him.”
“Leandro is a total professional, and someone who trains and plays at 100% every day. He’s quickly adapted to our Canadian style of play, and has become a fan favourite in his season and a half with our club.”
“Ben made a major impact in our back line this past year, winning a spot in a very competitive area. His defence and hard attack lines stood out every week.”
Toronto has now signed 21 players ahead of the club’s 2021 MLR campaign.
The club will be making additional signing announcements in the coming weeks as season preparations continue to build.
About Toronto Arrows Rugby Football Club:
The Toronto Arrows Rugby Football Club is Canada’s first professional rugby union team.
Competing in Major League Rugby, the team is equipped to compete against top-tier North American club teams, providing emerging Canadian talent with enhanced and more frequent opportunities to hone their skills at an elite level.
For more information, visit https://torontoarrows.com/
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