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Toronto Arrows Announce Signing of Canada-Eligible Prop Grindal

September 14, 2022 - Major League Rugby (MLR) - Toronto Arrows News Release

TORONTO, ON - The Toronto Arrows are pleased to announce the signing of Canada-eligible prop Connor Grindal for the 2023 Major League Rugby season.

Grindal, 24, will arrive at the club from Australian side Gordon, where the front-rower has been plying his trade in the Sydney Rugby Union Premiership.

"Everything I've heard about the Arrows organization has been overwhelmingly positive," said Grindal. "This is the type of opportunity that gets you up and out of bed in the morning; it energizes you. Rather than dipping a toe in, I want to jump in head-first... I want to go all-in and make the most of it."

"I can't wait to get to Toronto, to meet my teammates, to focus on how I can personally improve and help the team improve, and to be part of a group that represents Canada and is pulling in the same direction, all aligned on the same goal to win a championship."

The five-foot-eleven, 230-pound prop just completed his first season with the Highlanders, which followed five years of coming up through the ranks at Sydney University. While featuring for the Students, he notably helped lead his 2nd Colts side to a junior championship in 2017, and later won the 4th Grade Premiership title in 2019 en route to earning top forward honours across his grade.

Grindal will be designated as a domestic player through his Canadian eligibility, as both his mother (Montreal) and father (Toronto) hail from Canada.

The Grindal name will be familiar to many members of Ontario's rugby community, as Connor's father Iain was an accomplished scrum-half with the Toronto Welsh (now the Toronto Dragons), Queen's University, and the Ontario provincial team throughout the 1980s before moving to Australia. While studying at Queen's, Iain helped lead the Gaels to four consecutive Turner Trophy titles between 1986 and 1989, and won the institution's Jim Tait Trophy in his final year at the school. Iain, along with brothers David and Blain, were part of a trio of Grindal siblings that regularly suited up for a successful Toronto Welsh team that claimed five consecutive Ontario Sevens Senior Men's Championships throughout the mid-1980s.

"I still have plenty of family in Scarborough and Montreal, and my uncles and aunts are getting really excited for me to be coming back and playing in Toronto," added Grindal. "I didn't grow up in Canada, but with two Canadian parents, I'm proud to have that Canadian DNA. I recognize how special it will be to play for the only Canadian team in Major League Rugby, and the honour that comes with representing an entire nation."

The Sydney-born prop first picked up the sport as a teenager, though he quickly established himself as a formidable high school athlete, eventually earning a spot on the prestigious New South Wales Schoolboys side in 2016.

"We're very excited to find and sign another Canada-eligible player in Connor Grindal, which is a name that carries some weight in Ontario rugby history," said Mark Winokur, Toronto Arrows Chief Operating Officer and General Manager. "Connor is a dynamic young front-rower that we can plug right into the mix."

The club will be making additional signing announcements in the coming weeks as 2023 season preparations continue to build.

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