Toronto Arrows Announce Captaincy Roles for 2023 MLR Season
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO, ON – The Toronto Arrows are pleased to announce the club’s captaincy roles for the 2023 Major League Rugby season.
Lucas Rumball has been named club captain, while Sam Malcolm and Mike Sheppard will take up vice captaincy duties.
Rumball, 27, is returning to the Arrows for a fifth campaign after featuring in 39 matches (37 starts) for the club since its inaugural season in 2019. He’s held a leadership role with the team since its inception.
Arrow #1 – he led the team out as its captain for its inaugural match in Major League Rugby – leads the franchise in tackles (520; 93.7% completion) and breakdown steals (44); Rumball is the only Arrows player to have hit the 500-tackle milestone, and his work at the breakdown is in a class of its own, with only one other player in team history cracking double-digits for poaches (Tomas de la Vega; 15).
Tenacious at the ruck, no player across the league posted more defending breakdown arrivals than Rumball (134) throughout the 2022 MLR season; the Scarborough, Ont. native also led MLR in this category in 2021 (124 arrivals), the same year he earned All-MLR 1st XV honours.
The Canadian national team captain has earned 47 caps (44 starts) for his nation since making his international debut against Uruguay in February 2016.
“It’s an honour for me to captain my hometown team,” said Rumball. “This organization is headed in a great direction and I couldn’t be more excited to lead this group. It means a lot to see the respect that my teammates, coaches, and management have for me.”
“We have a great leadership group here in Toronto, a strong group of men who lead by example and demonstrate what it means to be an Arrow. We’re really looking forward to the year and excited to get going.”
Rumball’s deputies are also a pair of five-year, day-one Arrows who are returning to captaincy roles.
Malcolm, 27, has featured in 37 matches (36 starts) for the team over the past four seasons, and like Rumball, holds club records in several statistical categories, including points (320), conversions (78), penalty goals (52), goal kicking accuracy (81.8%), and kicks in play (164).
Arrow #10, who also served as a vice captain in 2022, holds the distinction of being the only non-Canadian to captain the Arrows in a MLR match (a victory over the Utah Warriors on May 12, 2019).
Sheppard, 34, has made 46 appearances (39 starts) – the highest match total on the current roster – throughout his first four years in MLR.
Arrow #5, who continues in a leadership position after captaining the team last year, leads the franchise in all-time carries (381) and dominant tackles (29), and his 10 tries are the most amongst forwards in club history.
“I think the selections go to show that Lucas, Sam, and Shep are really well respected amongst the group, that the players see them as the leaders and drivers within the team, and the staff do as well,” said head coach Peter Smith. “These three guys are the core of the Arrows, and represent what we’re trying to do and achieve. They’ve been here from the start, through the ups and downs and have stuck with us, and they’re the best people to lead us through the season.”
“Lucas is extremely well admired and respected amongst his peers. He’s a player who will always give 100% on the field and put his body on the line, and he’s probably the hardest worker that we have in the team, and those are all qualities that we want all our Arrows players to have. I think he represents everything we’re about in a really positive way.”
“Shep will always drive the standards within the team, and he’ll always bring the boys together. There’s obviously a lot of new faces that we have within the squad, and he’s one of our key guys in making sure we’re a tight group, and all the new guys feel welcome within the team.”
“Sam is a different type of leader; he’s more your tactical genius. He’ll speak when he needs to speak, but he will lead by example whether it’s actions on the field or through his actions at training.”
The team’s wider leadership group also includes Ross Braude, Mason Flesch, James O’Neill, Mitch Richardson, and Isaac Salmon.
“These are relentless, hard workers who are willing to do whatever it takes for our squad to win, and that’s why those guys have been selected within the group,” added Smith. “Some of them have been with us for so long – including Mitch Richardson, who has also been with us since day one – that they’re the heart and soul of the team.”
The club will begin its fifth season in North America’s top-flight professional rugby league with a road match against Rugby ATL on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.
About Toronto Arrows Rugby Football Club:
Established in 2018, the Toronto Arrows Rugby Football Club is Canada’s first and only professional rugby union team.
Competing in Major League Rugby, the team is equipped to compete against top-tier North American professional 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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