The Toronto Arrows signed James O’Neill for the 2023 Major league Rugby season. The 24-year-old flanker (25 in January) is 5’11” and 225 lbs.
James played in 10 matches, starting 6, during the 2022 season for the Arrows. He had 394 carry meters on 61 carries, 185 ruck arrivals, 79 tackles (84% completion), eight tackle breaks, seven breakdown steals, two linebreaks, one offload, and one try. Following the season, O’Neill received Club Man of the Year honors at the team’s annual awards ceremony.
James is from Cochrane, Alberta, and arrived at the Arrows earlier this offseason when the club acquired his rights via a trade with Los Angeles, which involved sending Canadian National Team co-captain Ben LeSage to the Giltinis with the Arrows receiving salary cap considerations. He was taken 26th overall in the 2021 MLR Collegiate Draft, becoming the third Canadian to be picked in the selection event.
The flanker graduated from the University of Victoria, where he attended from 2016-2021. He captained his Vikes side to the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship title in 2019 alongside Arrows 2021 first-round draft pick Logan Martin-Feek.
James played for Canada at two World Rugby Under-20 Trophy tournaments, in 2017, and again in 2018 with the captaincy role.
This Fall he was the captain of the Pacific Pride in the British Columbia’s Coastal Cup, where he helped lead the Rugby Canada national development academy side to a second-place finish (4-1-1 record) in the inaugural year of the competition. The Alberta native played his club rugby with the Calgary Canucks.