On this week’s Arrows Up segment on Sauga 960, host Mike Richards announced that the Arrows have signed lock Adrian Wadden for the 2021 season. Wadden’s signing is not a shock, the Ontario Blues product has made plenty of appearances at training sessions during the 2020 season. He was signed earlier in the year, but the Arrows have elected to make the signing official today.
Like the vast majority of the Arrows roster, Wadden is a product of the Ontario provincial system. He has played for Lorne Park SS, the Oakville Crusaders, McMaster Marauders and the Ontario Blues. Wadden has also attended school overseas where he studied and played rugby for Leeds Beckett University. The 24-year has also been capped by Canada ‘A’ and was in the lineup for the Senior Men’s National team in a match against Oxford (therefore remains uncapped) in the build up to the 2019 RWC Repechage tournament.
The Arrows are excited about the addition to Wadden. Defense Coach Aaron Carpenter had this to say about the new acquisition:
“Adrian is an exciting prospect for Canadian rugby fans. He has worked really hard at university to put on muscle and increase his fitness levels, so he can compete at the professional level. He also has very good speed and footwork which will help us get him in the air and win ball or disrupt our opponents. In the sessions he worked with us this winter, he showed a willingness to learn and adapted to the Arrows’ systems with ease. Myself and the rest of the coaching staff are very excited about his potential.”
The ability to get up in the air would be a major selling point to the Arrows and adds something that the they do not have; a lineout jumping lock. Currently, the Arrows rely heavily on their back-row for lineout jumpers. Tomas de la Vega is their primary jumper with Lucas Rumball, Manuel Diana, Peter Milazzo and Kolby Francis (who can play lock too) getting plenty of ball themselves. Mike Sheppard, Paul Ciulini, Tom Van Horne, and Josh Van Horne are not the typical jumping locks. On an episode of the Classics, Sheppard declared “for the Arrows, my role in the lineout is to not be in it”. Of course, that is a bit of a comedic take on Sheppard’s role. However, it does help illustrate that Wadden’s skill set could find a place on the team.
In the abbreviated 5 game 2020 season, Ciulini was the only Arrows lock to register a lineout take. De la Vega led the way with 34 (2nd in MLR), Diana had 8, and Rumball rounded out the top 3 with 4. Wadden will be able to provide the Arrows lineout with plenty of more options and different looks. Wadden also brings some added versatility as he can play blindside flanker as well. Ultimately, that adds even more options to the Arrows pack.
If you would like a visual of Adrian Wadden’s game, you can take a look at this highlight reel on YouTube:
For all your Toronto Arrows and MLR news be sure to follow @BressetteTheJet and @LaymansSports on your favourite social media network.