Old Glory Begins Final Homestand Against San Diego
By Evan Lappen
Old Glory DC returns home on Saturday to complete the season with a two-game homestand starting with the San Diego Legion. This match marks the first meeting against the Legion, and DC hopes the friendly confines of Segra Field will help the squad buck its season-long losing streak. It will be Red, White, Blue, and PRIDE with Team DC at Segra with the game kicking off at 5:00 pm. Doors open at 11 AM for three curtain-raisers.
11:30 AM – U19 Old Glory Girls Academy vs New England Free Jacks
1:00 PM – U19 Old Glory Boys Academy vs New England Free Jacks
3:00 PM– Washington Renegades vs Baltimore Flamingos
The match will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Washington and on the Rugby Network. Tickets are available at online at Old Glory’s ticket page.
Last Sunday in Georgia, DC looked to be playing with confidence and having fun on the field until a fateful ten minutes in the second half doomed the match. Toronto scored three tries in that period, and Old Glory was unable to recover.
“You can see from the weekend the boys are still trying hard. We’re just making crucial mistakes,” Head Coach Andrew Douglas said. “We had a poor ten minutes which killed us really. I thought we had a better team on the day and looked more threatening, but… in those ten minutes, we switched off a bit, and it cost us.”
One of the bright spots was the play of the squad’s rising stars. D’Montae Noble, Cory Daniel, and Simi Moala stood out, and three more made their MLR debuts.
“They made the most of their opportunities,” Douglas said. “It’s great to develop young players and see the future of the club. It was not an ideal result, but it was positive that those guys got some game time. Three guys made their debut with the club in Owen [Sheehy], Mo [Katz], and Dakota [Worth], and deservedly so. They have been working hard, and it’s good to get some fresh energy in there.”
To further develop the young talent in the final two games, Callum Gibbins will take a step back from playing to focus on coaching. This decision will give players like Daniel and Worth more game time while allowing Gibbins to teach and convey his valuable knowledge to everyone on the squad.
As for the other players who missed the Arrows match, Thretton Palamo is considered day-to-day with a nerve injury, and Casey Renaud progressing after getting sick last week. Over in the UK, Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz and Mikey Sosene-Feagai started for the USA Eagles against England and put in good shifts. Fa’anana-Schultz scored a try in the second half, which saw the Eagles outscore England in that period. Doug Fraser and Mike Dabulas weren’t selected for their respective teams this past weekend but hope to play in the final matches on Saturday.
San Diego and Old Glory share a lot in common this season. Both sides went into this year with a lot of promise only to be cut short by injuries. However, each team has had their fair share on highs and lows and hope to complete the season with poise and vigor.
“[San Diego] is a very strong team, and they showed that against Seattle over the weekend,” Douglas said. “They have a pretty good roster, and most of their players are back now. They will be a good team for the fans to come and watch.”
The Legion broke a three-game losing streak last weekend with a 34-21 win over the Seawolves. San Diego took advantage of a pair of yellow cards to burst out to a 31-7 halftime lead. The Seawolves did their best to claw back, but the Legion defense prevented a comeback. Ryan Matyas scored a pair of tries, with Peter Malcolm, Cole Zarcone, and Cameron Clark contributing one each.
In their final match of its season, the Legion has the weapons to finish the year on a high note. Former All Black Tom Franklin runs the set-piece, and Eagle Nate Augspurger captains the ship at scrumhalf. Old Glory will have to look out for the speed and shiftiness of Matyas, Zarcone, and Cecil Afrika in the back three. Joe Pietersen, Bjorn Basson, Dan Pryor, and Thomas Morani were all out for the Seattle game and may be back for the cross-country trek to DC.
“Both teams are playing to try and do themselves proud this season,” Douglas indicated. “We have to hold the ball for longer periods of time, and I think we did that better against Toronto. Recycle the ball faster and be more threatening. We had some really nice set plays against Toronto, so we’ll keep trying to build on that.”
As with most games this season, the focus for Old Glory is on themselves. “We’re going to focus on performance and making sure we’re developing ourselves,” Douglas stated. “We can’t waste this season. It’s a learning season, and it’s been a tough one for us all. We know what we need to fix, but we can’t waste this season.”
“When you are playing well, you get confidence,” Douglas concluded. “The old cliché, you create your own luck. Unfortunately, we didn’t have our confidence, and luck isn’t going our way. We just got to keep working hard, and we’re never going to quit. San Diego is a big challenge this weekend at home. It would be nice to get back to Segra and put on a show for our fans.”