Toronto Arrows bring back Canadian international forward Mike Sheppard

TORONTO — The Toronto Arrows have re-signed Canadian international lock Mike Sheppard and fellow returnee John Sheridan.

The Major League Rugby team also signed Irish-born scrum half Jason Higgins, who holds Canadian citizenship through one of his parents.

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The Arrows now have 29 players under contract ahead of the 2021 season.

Sheppard appeared in two matches in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign and has made 17 appearances over his two seasons with the club. The hard-running forward has made 201 carries with five tries and was selected to the All-MLR 1st XV last year.

The 31-year-old from Brampton, Ont., has won 11 caps for Canada and was part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup squad.

Sheridan, a 26-year-old wing from Bolton, Ont., also appeared in two matches in 2020 and has made eight appearances with two tries over his two seasons with the club.

"We're delighted to have two Ontario stalwarts in John and Mike returning to the club," Arrows vice-president and GM Mark Winokur said in a statement. "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 (MLR championship) Shield."

Higgins joins Toronto from his hometown club, the All-Ireland League champion Cork Constitution. The 27-year-old had signed to play with rival MLR side Rugby United New York but did not see action because of visa issues.

"In a very classy move, RUNY let us know that Jason has Canadian citizenship, which opened the door for us to connect," said Winokur.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 27, 2020.

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