The MLR season is now officially over. It wasn’t quite what we all would have hoped for Old Glory, but it was still a lot of fun. Just because Old Glory is done playing, though, there will still be things happening. Here are some of the important dates to keep an eye on this offseason.
July 24 (Saturday) – West Conference Finals
In the West, the long-time favorites Los Angeles will host a feisty Utah Warriors team. LA have been a dominant team since week one, dropping just four matches in their whole season. They have been celebrated for their beautiful attacking lines and clinical defense. The Utah Warriors have a similarly vaunted attack, with many powerful runners. After an unsteady start, they had several close, gutsy wins to secure their playoff spot, including one over LA in the last match of the season. Neither team has made the playoffs before, with LA only joining this year. This match will be broadcast on CBS in the US and Canada.
July 25 (Sunday) – East Conference Finals
In the East, we will see Rugby ATL host Rugby United New York at their home field in Atlanta. Rugby ATL had a rocky start to the season, but after going 2-3 in the first five weeks, they have lost just two match since. Their opponents, RUNY, have looked good all year, being the first to defeat the powerhouse LA team. However, they’ve struggled of late, dropping three of their last five matches. Both teams are known for their punishing defensive play. It will be the first playoff appearance for Rugby ATL, who only joined in 2020, but for RUNY this will be their second appearance. They lost to San Diego in 2019 in the semi-finals. This match will also be available on CBS.
August 1 (Sunday) – Finals
The winners of each conference will face off for the MLR Shield. The highest-seeded team will host the match. Since both West teams finished higher than their East opponents in the final standings, the finals will either be in LA or Utah. This match will also be available on CBS.
August 7 (Saturday) – The Rugby Showcase
As a prelude to the draft, there will be a rugby showcase presented by the High-Performance Management Group. It will feature draft-declared players who want to show off their talents in front of MLR clubs in hopes of improving their odds of entering the league. This year, it will be presented on the Rugby Network, making it available for all rugby fans. We will be covering it as part of our lead up to the MLR draft.
August 19 (Thursday) – The MLR Draft
Fans won’t have to wait long for the 2021 edition for the MLR Draft. Coming a couple weeks after the conclusion of the finals, the draft will see teams pick in reverse order of the standings, pending any trades that might occur. One of Old Glory’s picks last year, Casey Renaud, has seen frequent playing time. We will be covering the draft more after the season ends.
August-November – Signings
The MLR has a signing deadline, after which all unsigned players are released from their teams as free agents. However, last year Old Glory didn’t opt to announce all of the players that they re-signed on the deadline, instead dripping that information out over the months afterwards. There will also likely be a number of brand new players signed, so stay tuned for our coverage.
February 2022 – Preseason exhibition matches
The pandemic forced significant changes to the usual MLR schedule, but in 2022 we should see a return to a more normal arrangement. Although nothing has been announced, Old Glory will likely schedule a couple of friendly exhibition matches to get warmed up for the season. In 2020, these happened in February at the St. James, an indoor sports facility where the team practices in the colder months. Expect announcements of preseason matches sometime this offseason.
March 2022 – MLR returns
Major League Rugby should make its official return in March of 2022, kicking off a new season of rugby for all of us to enjoy!