27 August 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO, ON – The Toronto Arrows are pleased to announce a sixth group of significant signings ahead of the 2021 Major League Rugby season.
The club is excited to confirm that Mike Sheppard and John Sheridan have recommitted for the 2021 season, and that the duo will be joined by Canada-eligible scrum-half Jason Higgins.
Scrum-half | Cork, Ireland (Canada eligible)
Higgins arrives at the club following a successful spell with his hometown club and All-Ireland League champions Cork Constitution.
The 25-year-old Munster age-grade grad enjoyed five strong AIL-level seasons after graduating from Christian Brothers College. The Irishman helped lead Cork to four Munster Senior Cup titles along with AIL titles in both 2017 and 2019.
The former Munster ‘A’ Player of the Year had signed to play with Rugby United New York ahead of last year’s MLR season, but was not able to feature for the Roosters before the 2020 campaign was cut short.
While born and raised in Ireland, Higgins also holds Canadian citizenship and remains eligible for Canadian selection; he will be designated as a domestic player.
Lock | Brampton, Ontario
Sheppard featured in two matches in the shortened 2020 campaign, and has made 17 appearances over his two seasons with the club. The hard-nosed forward has made 201 carries, 899 carry metres, 223 tackles (86% completion), seven offloads, five linebreaks, and four tackle breaks throughout the 2019 and 2020 seasons, along with scoring five tries. His impressive performances throughout the club’s inaugural season landed him a spot on the All-MLR 1st XV.
The 31-year-old lock has earned 11 caps for Canada since making his international debut against Kenya in November 2018, including featuring at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Sheppard is a graduate of the Ontario Blues senior men’s provincial program and the McMaster Marauders post-secondary program, and played his grassroots rugby with the Brampton Beavers and Stoney Creek Camels.
Wing | Bolton, Ontario
Sheridan featured in two matches in the abbreviated 2020 campaign, and has made eight appearances over his two seasons with the club. The speedy outside back has run for 256 metres on 25 carries throughout the 2019 and 2020 seasons, scoring two tries and making three linebreaks in the process.
The 26-year-old is a graduate of the Ontario Blues senior men’s provincial program and the Guelph Gryphons and Humber Hawks post-secondary programs, and played his grassroots rugby with the Markham Irish.
“We’re delighted to have two Ontario stalwarts in John and Mike returning to the club,” said Arrows Vice President and General Manager Mark Winokur. “Both have played major roles in the building stages of the Ontario Blues and then the Arrows. It’s crucial to keep our core and culture together while adding pieces where needed, and both will play a critical role in our pursuit of the Shield.”
“Jason’s journey to the Arrows is one of those great rugby stories. We were introduced to Jason when he played for Cork Constitution against the Blues in Ottawa in August 2016, and he impressed. He then signed with Rugby United New York for last year, but was unable to get his visa to the USA approved before the end of the shortened season. In a very classy move, RUNY let us know that Jason has Canadian citizenship, which opened the door for us to connect. We’re looking forward to adding a Canada-eligible talent at halfback, and to have some Irish heritage included in our ranks!”
Toronto has now signed 29 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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