Toronto Arrows co-captains Lucas Rumball and Ben LeSage have been named to Major League Rugby's first all-star team for the 2021 season.
Former Canadian international DTH van der Merwe was one five members of the MLR champion Los Angeles Giltinis to make the 15-man first team. The winger, Canada's all-time leading try-scorer, is joined by teammates Angus Cottrell, Harrison Goddard, Matt Giteau and Billy Meakes.
Rugby ATL, which lost the championship game 31-17 to the first-year Giltinis on Aug. 1 in Los Angeles, placed Chance Wenglewski and Johan Momsen on the first team.
Toronto backrower Tomy de la Vega, who has represented Argentina internationally, made the second all-star team.
Rumball, a flanker, and Lesage, a centre, are both Canadian internationals.
Rumball ranked first in the league in breakdown steals (22) and defensive ruck arrivals (124), and seventh in tackles (156). Lesage ranked fifth in linebreaks (14) and eighth in offloads (14).
De la Vega was second in defensive ruck arrivals (113), third in breakdown steals (10), fourth in carries (151), fifth in tackles (177) and sixth in lineout takes (65).
The Arrows, forced to play the entire 2021 season out of suburban Atlanta because of pandemic-related travel restrictions, finished sixth in the Eastern Conference at 5-11-0. With the 2020 season called after five matches due to COVID-19, the Arrows have not played at home since June 2, 2019.
Former Wallabies star Adam Ashley Cooper, another member of the Giltinis, made the second all-star team as did former England international Ben Foden and former All Black Andy Ellis, both with Rugby United New York.
The all-MLR teams were voted on by MLR media, referees and "stats specialists." The league's individual end-of-season awards will be announced later this week
Chance Wenglewski, Rugby ATL; Sama Malolo, Utah; Dino Waldren, NOLA; Nate Brakeley, RUNY; Johan Momsen, Rugby ATL; Angus Cottrell, Los Angeles; Lucas Rumball, Toronto; Wian Conradie, New England; Harrison Goddard, Los Angeles; Matt Giteau, Los Angeles; DTH van der Merwe, Los Angeles, Billy Meakes, Los Angeles; Ben LeSage, Toronto; Julian Dominguez, NOLA; Mikey Te'o, Utah.
J.P. Smith, Los Angeles; Dylan Fawsitt, RUNY; Angus MacLellan, Utah; Aston Fortuin, Utah; Dave Dennis, Los Angeles; Tomy de la Vega, Toronto; Joe Johnston, New England; Jason Damm, Rugby ATL; Andy Ellis, RUNY; Jason Robertson, Old Glory D.C.; Bjorn Basson, San Diego; Mark O'Keeffe, Rugby ATL; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Los Angeles; Paula Balekana, Houston; Ben Foden, RUNY.
Jamie Mackintosh, Austin; Michelangelo Sosene-Feagai (Old Glory D.C.); Charlie Abel, Los Angeles; Rhyno Herbst, Seattle; Nathan Den Hoedt, L.A.; Ben Bonasso, RUNY; Bailey Wilson, Utah; Cam Dolan, NOLA; Michael Baska, Utah; Dan Hollinshead, RUNY; Mika Kruse, Utah; J.P. du Plessis, NOLA; Bryce Campbell, Austin; Jeremy Misailegalu, Rugby ATL; Beaudein Waaka, New England.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2021