It has been just over a month since MLR 2022 came to a close, and two months since Old Glory last took the pitch. Things have mostly been quiet since then, but here's a wrap-up of everything you might have missed, as well as a look at what is coming down the pike.
Four OGs receive All-MLR Honorable Mentions
The League released their all-MLR first team, second team, and honorable mentions for the 2022 season. Four Old Glory players made the cut: loosehead prop Jack Iscaro, lock Tevita Naqali, flanker Cory Daniel, and fullback Renata Roberts-Te Nana. Naqali and Roberts-Te Nana are veteran hands who shouldered heavy burdens in a difficult season, while Iscaro and Daniel are young up-and-comers who stepped into starting positions with aplomb.
Old Glory's total of four players on the lists is fourth most in the MLR, tied with LA. That's an impressive feat, even if those are all honorable mentions rather than first or second team honors. It speaks to the depth and promise of the team that became apparent towards the end of the season and hopefully is a good omen for next year. Last season, Old Glory had two players on the lists: flyhalf Jason Robertson made the second team and hooker Mikey Sosene-Feagai received an honorable mention.
Americas Rugby News also published a "Dream Team" starting fifteen of MLR players. While the editorial staff neglected to select any Old Glory players, the fan vote backed Danny Tusitala for the scrumhalf spot.
Players heading to New Zealand for the NPC
Two Old Glory players will be playing in New Zealand's professional National Provincial Championship, the second level of rugby in the country formerly known as the Mitre 10. Felix Kalapu, the brash young lock/flanker who made a big impact with OGDC will suit up for Auckland, while prop Kyle Stewart will once again join Taranaki. Since the NPC season runs from August to October, it doesn't overlap at all with Major League Rugby, meaning that we could still see all of these players back next year.
Trio of young players head to Glasgow Warriors academy
Three of Old Glory's young up-and-comers will be headed to Scotland. Cory Daniel, John Rizzo, and Owen Sheehy have joined the Glasgow Warriors academy for block one of their preseason training, the same team that transformed Jack Iscaro into the player he is today back in 2019. It should be a great opportunity to see three players with great innate talent hone their skills and take the next step in their development as players.
Premier 7s hosted their first DC tournament at Audi Field
In other big rugby news from the DC area, PR7s, the new professional sevens circuit, held their first DC tournament. Two Old Glory players were listed on the team sheets, Dom Bailey for the Headliners and Owen Sheehy for the Experts, while former OG speedster D'Montae Noble played for the Loonies. Audi Field showed off its potential as a rugby venue, even if the 3,500 fans didn't exactly fill up the stadium. Hopefully we'll see it included as an option for future test matches, potential when the World Cup rolls into town in 2031.
Upcoming Things to Watch For
The 2022 MLR Draft - August 18, 2022
It's draft time once again. With 3 rounds, 39 picks, and 143 (at the time of writing) prospects, we will be seeing the next wave of domestic talent joining the league. Due to the struggles on the field last season, Old Glory starts out with the second pick in each round, which work out to the 2nd, 15th, and 28th picks overall. In addition, the team has LA's second round pick as part of a trade from last year. That pick is 6th in round two, or 19th overall. Of course, there is always room for last minute trades to shake this up.
So, who is Old Glory going to pick? Honestly, it's impossible to say. While coverage of college rugby has increased dramatically in recent years, it's still pretty limited, so it's hard judge the players involved fairly. On top of that, we are likely to see some shake-up in the roster this offseason anyway as a new coach comes in with a different system and vision for the team. Who OGDC picks will depend a lot on what that new coach sees in the current team and what they want from drafted players.
A new coach will be announced
We likely won't have to wait long for this one. According to the team, Old Glory will be announcing a new head coach sometime in the next few weeks. My guess is that we'll see something before the draft, but the exact timing is anyone's guess. Nate Osborne, the former head man at NOLA Gold who took over as interim head coach after the departure of Andrew Douglas, is one of the candidates for the role and a favorite among the fanbase. However, the team has been conducting a broad search, so it's far from clear that he will be given the job.
This is an exciting time for Old Glory fans. The last couple of seasons have been disappointing, but now we get to see the team head in a new direction. This is more than just the signing of a new coach; this is a transition to a new era in how the team operates. Hopefully we can see that lead to a better team and experience for fans.
Player signings and re-signings
With a number of things still to be settled with the team management, but once those things are announced we should start to see announcements for who has been signed for the 2023 season. Even with the coaching change, I expect a number of Old Glory's fan favorite stalwarts to return to the team, but we'll also see a number of new faces. If you're ever curious about who has and has not been confirmed, check out our 2023 roster tracker.