Simon Cross Signed as new Old Glory DC Head Coach

By Alistair Kirsch-Poole
Jul 7, 2023 - 9:44am

Simon Cross, defense coach with the Dragons in the URC, has been signed as Old Glory DC's new head coach. The 42-year-old Scotsman steps into the post being left vacant by Josh Syms, who is departing for a job at Zebre after getting Old Glory to a first ever playoff appearance. Cross has been signed with the team for several weeks and has had a chance to visit a match in person already. Notably, Cross has been signed on a 3-year deal, agreeing to lead the club through 2026.

Cross joins OGDC with a significant amount of playing and coaching experience. He was a brought up in the Wasps academy, getting his first cap with the senior side in 2000. He then moved to Edinburgh in 2003, competing in what was then the Celtic League for eight years. Primarily a flanker, he was named captain of the team after just a few years. Eventually, however, a bad knee forced him to hang up the boots.

His coaching career started before he finished playing, however. While still a player, he coached Scottish National League Division 3 side Murrayfield Wanderers. After retiring, he moved on to coach the Edinburgh Accies in Scottish National League Division 1. He helped them win the division in 2011, earning them promotion to the Scottish Premiership. He was also involved with coaching the Scotland u20s at this time. In 2013, he was brought in by the Worcester Warriors of the English Premiership as a defense coach. In 2019, he moved over to Welsh URC side Dragons.

Cross has been noted as an up-and-coming coach, called one of the brightest young coaches in Scotland a couple times in his career. He has served as the head coach of amateur teams, but Old Glory will be an opportunity for him to prove that he can take the reins of a professional side.

The speed of his signing may come as some surprise. When Old Glory moved on from Andrew Douglas, the team's first ever head coach, midway through the 2022 season, it took them a full seven months to secure his replacement. They eventually signed Josh Syms in October of last year, just nine months ago. However, the advantage of the recency and length of that search is that the team already had a pool of candidates to pull from. In this case, the Scottish Rugby Union, who have a minority ownership stake in Old Glory, seem to have been instrumental Cross's move to DC.

The speed of this signing has the potential to deliver significant benefits for the team. Cross has already ahd a chance to meet the team and analyze their play style. With a full off-season ahead, he will be able to craft the roster to his liking, re-signing players who have impressed and bringing in new players who fit his style of coaching.

He will have a strong base of players to work from. Many of Old Glory's young, up-and-coming players have already been re-signed, and more experienced players like Danny Tusitala are not expected to go anywhere. He is also said to have his eye on a number of players from the English Premiership, since many players from that league will be looking for work due to the collapse of several teams.

Whether we will see any turnover in the coaching staff is an interesting prospect to consider. While Cross is the fourth coach to head the team in the last eighteen months, the rest of the coaching staff has remained remarkably consistent. Whether he wants to change that will tell us a lot about how he views the team and what he thinks needs to change.

Cross will have big shoes to fill, given that his predecessor took the team from bottom of the table to their first ever playoff appearance. For many fans, simply avoiding a regression will be enough to avoid disappointment. However, they will also want to see more than that. A conference championship and finals appearance are a big ask for any team, but anything less may have fans thinking they got the raw end of the change. Hopefully, Cross will live up to the rising expectations.