Young back rower Fintan Coleman has re-signed with Old Glory DC. The 23-year-old is Irish-born, but qualifies for the US through his father.
Coleman saw a lot of usage last year, more than many may have expected. He played in 15 matches, only missing one match all year. Most of those appearances came off the bench, although he did get four starts as well. In total, he played for 435 minutes over the course of the season. He primarily played as a flanker, but also had several caps at number eight and even at lock.
It's likely that he actually played a bit too much last year, given where he was in his development. While a promising prospect, a lot was asked of Coleman from the jump, and his stats bear this out. On attack, he did score a try but was otherwise very average in his stats, gaining just over 4 meters a carry and beating 5 defenders on his 45 carries. On defense, his 83% tackle percentage was pretty low, although he had a good work rate with 25 defensive ruck arrivals. Those aren't terrible numbers, but they aren't what you'd hope for from player getting significant time every weekend. Coleman did get better as the season went on, so he should continue to get better this year.
However, he will face more competition than he did in 2022. While Felix Kalapu, one of the frequent starters at flanker last year, is leaving for Australia, experienced Argentinian Lautaro Bavaro looks set to take his spot. Waiting in the wings is also Brady Daniel, brother of rising star Cory Daniel, who signed at the end of last season, and new draftee Collin Grosse. The eight position, meanwhile, is likely to be dominated by Jamason Fa'anana-Schultz and Luke Campbell. Coleman will likely have to step up his game to earn caps this coming season.
It's good to see young and developing players retained, especially US eligible ones. I'm hoping that Coleman will be able to narrow his focus to a single position, so that he can start to develop a more consistent skillset. If he does, he could definitely earn more caps for himself this coming season.
Curious who has been signed and who is leaving? Check out our 2023 Signings Tracker for all the updates!