Old Glory DC welcomes a familiar foe to Segra Field as the Toronto Arrows return to the Mid-Atlantic on Saturday. OGDC hopes consistency breeds success as the gameday 23 will be relatively unchanged from last weekend. The squad seeks to improve game by game and match up against a team it faced in the preseason. The Arrows notched their first win at NOLA and look to hit the bullseye once again in Virginia. Kick-off is at 4:00 pm and the match will be simulcast on NBC Sports Washington and the Rugby Network. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster.
Saturday is International Day at Segra Field as Old Glory celebrates the international community in the DMV with groups from various embassies, performances, and fanfare. The gates open at 11 am, and fans are encouraged to bring flags and wear the cultural attire of their nation. As part of the festivities, a pair of curtain-raiser matches will showcase the Old Glory Capital Selects Women’s side against the Allegheny Selects at 11:30 am followed by the Men’s team versus the Hartford Harpooners at 1:30 pm. Additionally, Pasefika Souls will be organizing a food drive at Segra Field as a relief effort for the people of Tonga.
Bring non-perishable goods to donate at Old Glory’s upcoming match on Feb 26 and be entered in to win two VIP tickets to our match on May 21 celebrating the Pacific Islander Culture. We will be drawing winners at halftime! Learn more here.
Look Back at New England
With Friday’s loss to New England, Old Glory joins a group of four MLR clubs still searching for its first victory of the 2022 campaign. DC had the Free Jacks on the ropes into the second half, but unfortunately, OGDC’s mistakes and turnovers caught up to them, and the team was dealt the 41-25 defeat.
“We’re really disappointed,” Head Coach Andrew Douglas said. “We did enough to win the game… But, in the key moments that change games, we are not ruthless at the moment. We’ll score points, have a poor exit or kick receipt, and leave teams off the hook. We have to be a lot more ruthless than we are right now in our decision-making and our process, and hopefully then it will drive results.”
Eightman Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz took a more critical approach.
“No team beat us,” Jamason offered. “We are the only team to beat ourselves. When you see us play, we’re good enough with the right personnel and knowledge of the game. But then, they scored off our mistakes. Three breakaway tries from a missed tackle or dropped ball. It comes back down to how strong we are mentally, and that’s where we lack.”
“As Old Glory leaders, our main focus is getting that confidence back and building that trust again,” Fa’anana-Schultz continued. “Build that mental capacity up to be able to last longer with teams, stick to our gameplan, and get some consistency going.”
Stability in the Gameday 23
Flyhalf Rohan Saifolai and winger Peni Lasaqa made their MLR debuts last week, and their presence was definitely felt. The knowledge of having a pure #10 had a calming and confidence-building effect on the backline, and Lasaqa’s electric excitement led to a try and breakaways in his first start. The rapport within the team will only get stronger as the season progresses.
The rest of the starting backline remains untouched as captain Danny Tusitala conducts the symphony as scrumhalf, William Talataina and Renata Roberts-Te Nana are the hitters in the centers, and Doug Fraser is at wing. With Mike Dabulas still on the mend, Owen Sheehy serves as the sweeper at #15. After missing last Friday with an injury, Junior Sa’u is back on the bench joining a combination of LJ Koi-Larbi, Danny Thomas, and John Lefevre as the replacements in the backline.
The forwards unit as a whole remains the same, but the coaching staff has made two tactical substitutions. Jack Iscaro, Rob Irimescu, and Kyle Stewart will line up in the front row with Api Naikitini and Stan South as the locks. Luke Campbell gets his first start of the season at flanker and links up with Cory Daniel and Fa’anana-Schultz in the back row. Mo Katz, Jake Ilnicki, Jack Carroll, Fintan Coleman, and Dom Bailey are the impact substitutes in the pack.
Concentrated on Toronto
After only dotting down two tries and failing to score in the second half in their first two games, the Toronto Arrows came back to defeat NOLA in Week 3. A stout defense and Sam Malcolm’s fourth penalty kick in the 79th minute proved the 24-23 game-winner. Inspired performances from Kyle Baillie, Lucas Rumball, Andrew Quattrin, and Tomas de la Vega in the forwards and Brock Webster, Gaston Mieres, and Ross Braude in the backs rallied the Arrows from a double-digit deficit.
“They are a pretty good team and a solid outfit,” Douglas said. “Obviously, Sam Malcolm coming back in is a big benefit. He is a good player, as well as Spencer Jones at #12. Things tend to revolve around those two in terms of decision-making. Baillie commands upfront around the lineout.”
After seeing some of Toronto’s tendencies in the preseason, Douglas expects the Arrows to “try and go through the middle of us again. They will play off #10 a lot with Malcolm, rather than #9… If we can consistently defend and execute our plan for long periods of time, [we can succeed.] If we work to our structure, the plan works well.”
A Look Inwards
Toronto is next, but a majority of the focus is internal. “We let [everyone] down because of our mistakes,” Fa’anana-Schultz said. “The coaches don’t miss tackles or drop balls. It’s on us. We try to focus on the team we’re playing against, but at the same time, we have to focus on ourselves. Our main responsibility is to do our roles.”
While there is disappointment and frustration, it is only Week 4 of a 16-week season. The belief is once the new players get more experience in the system and the squad gets healthier, Old Glory can put itself in a position to contend.
“It’s funny,” Fa’anana-Schultz stated. “We’re 0-3 and had 150 points scored against us, but somehow the boys are still together. We trust in the coaches and our systems, but we must have the mentality and mindset that we are professionals and have to play like it. Our mistakes have been holding us back. When we play and do our thing, we’ll see how great of a team we are.”
Bonus Game Day Content: Team
As part of a team survey conducted before the season, Old Glory DC players and coaches were asked to give one-word answers to a series of topics. Many thought the same but others were wildly different.
The second topic was to describe the team itself. Through success and failure, the team has grown tighter and stronger as the season progresses. The men of Old Glory are a “Family” first and foremost, “Brothers” in arms, and are “Motivated” by an inclusive “Culture” in a “Fun”, “Rowdy”, and “Humble” environment. We are just starting to get a glimpse of their potential and the OG Faithful can’t wait to see them explode.