Academy Grads Black, Stevenson Poised for Debuts as Arrows Head to Utah
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HERRIMAN, UT – Toronto Arrows Head Coach Peter Smith has named his starting lineup for Saturday’s away match against the Utah Warriors.
Injuries have necessitated some fresh faces enter the gameday roster, primarily across the backline, though reinforcements have arrived in the form of a pair of local call-ups.
Smith’s lineup features the inclusion of two recently-activated High Performance Academy athletes, with Brenden Black set to start at fullback and Hank Stevenson made available off the bench.
Black, aged 18 years, 10 months, and 27 days, will notably become the youngest starter in MLR history, as well as the youngest player to feature for the Arrows in a MLR match.
The revamped blackline will also see Kobe Faust and Avery Oitomen draw in at the wing positions, with Fabian Goodall shifting inwards to outside centre. Joining Goodall in the new-look midfield pairing is Mitch Eadie, who swaps the pack for the backs to start at inside centre.
The forwards will see minor week-over-week alterations. Captain Lucas Rumball will occupy Eadie’s vacant No. 8 role, with James O’Neill tabbed for his first start of the campaign at openside flanker. Isaac Salmon has been activated off the injured reserve and is set to make an impact off the bench.
Starting lock Mike Sheppard is set to become the franchise leader in all-time appearances (51), passing Paul Ciulini (50) for the outright lead.
Toronto holds a 3-1 all-time record against the Warriors and is 1-1 in previous visits to Zions Bank Stadium; the Arrows swept the season series in 2019, and won a 27-24 thriller on last year’s trip to Utah.
Saturday’s game will kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET. The cross-conference tilt will stream on TSN+, TSN.ca, the TSN app, and The Rugby Network for Canadian audiences, and will be available on The Rugby Network for American and international audiences. Additional broadcast details.
Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. Utah Warriors:
- Lolani Faleiva
- Ramon Ayarza [wearing #5]
- Tyler Rowland
- Mike Sheppard (VC)
- Adrian Wadden [wearing #2]
- Mason Flesch
- James O’Neill
- Lucas Rumball (C)
- Ross Braude
- Sam Malcolm (VC)
- Avery Oitomen
- Mitch Eadie [wearing #20]
- Fabian Goodall [wearing no number]
- Kobe Faust
- Brenden Black
- Gene Syminton
- Conan O’Donnell
- Isaac Salmon
- Hank Stevenson
- Owain Ruttan [wearing #12]
- Will Grant
- Cole Brown
- Jack McRogers
Injury / Recovery List: Nic Benn, Ciaran Breen, Cole Davis, Travis Larsen, Shane O’Leary, Noel Reid, Mitch Richardson, Tautalatasi Tasi, Corey Thomas, Micaiah Torrance-Read
- Brenden Black will make his Arrows debut as a starter, becoming the youngest starter in MLR history (18y, 10m, 27d)
- Black will become the youngest player to feature for the Arrows in a MLR match, surpassing Kobe Faust, who was 19y, 1m, 25d when he made his Arrows debut on June 26, 2021
- Hank Stevenson stands to make his Arrows debut off the bench
- Seven squad members are full Canadian internationals: Ross Braude (12 caps), Mason Flesch (2 caps), Jack McRogers (1 cap), Tyler Rowland (9 caps), Lucas Rumball (47 caps), Owain Ruttan (1 cap), Mike Sheppard (11 caps)
- Ramon Ayarza (12 caps) is a full Chilean international
WEEK 6 MILESTONE WATCH:
- 51 – Mike Sheppard is poised to become the franchise leader in all-time appearances (51), passing Paul Ciulini (50) for the outright lead
- 30 – Adrian Wadden is poised to earn his 30th cap, becoming the 15th Arrow to reach this career milestone
- 3,000 – Sam Malcolm is 13 minutes away from reaching 3,000 in his MLR career
- 1,000 – Mason Flesch is 71 minutes away from reaching 1,000 in his MLR career
- 500 – Mike Sheppard is two tackles away from reaching 500 in his MLR career
- 100 – James O’Neill is five tackles away from reaching 100 in his MLR career
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/
For more information, please contact:
Header Photo Credit: Paris Malone
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TORONTO, ON – Toronto Arrows Head Coach Peter Smith