OGDC Stays on the Road for Match with Utah Warriors – Week 8 Preview

Last weekend was a big disappointment for Old Glory, as they missed their chance to upset league favorites Los Angeles. Still, the season rolls on, and the team has a chance to bounce back against the Utah Warriors. It will be a tough match, especially given the altitude, but there are few things as motivating as a blowout loss to get a team fired up and ready to prove a point.

Details

  • When: May 8, 2021
  • Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
  • Where: Zions Bank Stadium (map)
  • Channel: FS2 (national), The Rugby Network (overseas)
  • Weather forecast: 48°F and breezy
  • Line: Utah by 3 (from Tackle the Numbers)

Preview

How good are the Utah Warriors?

At 3-3 on the season and third in the West Conference standings, Utah is pretty much the definition of middle-of-the-road. However, looking more closely at their record reveals some interesting incongruities. They have lost to two of the worst teams in the league, San Diego and Seattle, and barely beat the absolute worst, Houston, by a single score, 50-43. Meanwhile, they’ve beaten two of the top teams in the league in Toronto and Austin. So how good are they? It depends on the week.

What we can say is that they have the potential for high-flying, high-scoring attack. They’ve scored 30 or more in half their matches. However, they are not unstoppable, so a good defense can shut them down. More recent matches have seen their points dry up, with the exception of when they played Houston’s holey defense.

On defense, they’ve mostly been able to keep teams in check, with most not scoring more than 28. However, that has also been trending in the wrong direction for them, giving up 31 and 43 points in their last two matches.

Some players to watch out for are prop Paul Mullen and hooker Sama Malolo, both of whom are having good seasons. In the backs, they have some dynamic players in Mika Kruse, Mikey Teo, and Josh Whippy are just a few of the players having a great season. It will tough to keep this backline contained.

What will Old Glory need to do to win?

I may be am definitely biased, but I think Old Glory is a good team. When healthy in the backline, their defense has been solid, and when Robertson has been on the pitch their attack has been unstoppable. The exception was last week’s match against LA, but says more about LA than DC. No other team is playing at that level, so I think that if Old Glory comes out with confidence and something to prove, they will win.

The roster this week is being shaken up for Old Glory. In the front row, we have Dante Lopresti coming in for Steven Longwell, who will rest on the bench. Lopresti played well last year, but mostly at hooker. He’s shifted to tighthead prop this year, and has made one appearance of the bench. This will be a big test to see whether he can hold his own at the start of a match against a fresh front line.

In the second row, Stan South will start, this time to rest Tevita Naqali. He has played in most regards, but he has had a lot of penalties, including three yellow cards in four matches. A little more concerning is that only rookie and college draftee Casey Renaud can step in at lock from the bench. He has seen a few minutes here and there, but is far from a sure quantity.

In the backs, we unfortunately see the departure of Osea Kolinisau, who’s two-week contract to cover for Doug Fraser has expired. He’s tireless contributions and two tries for OGDC make him a hero in my book. The positive, though, is that Fraser is back! It will be nice to see him take the field again, for the first time since the Atlanta match in week two. Also coming back is Dylan Taikato-Simpson, who played fullback with the team last year and should be an electric edition to the back line.

Lineups

Old Glory DC

  1. Jamie Dever
  2. Mikey Sosnene-Feagai
  3. Dante Lopresti
  4. Api Naikatini
  5. Stan South
  6. Callum Gibbins
  7. Mungo Mason
  8. Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz
  9. Danny Tusitala
  10. Jason Robertson
  11. Renata Roberts Te-Nana
  12. Thretton Palamo
  13. Thomas Morani
  14. Doug Fraser
  15. Dylan Taikato-Simpson

Reserves:

  1. Max Lum
  2. Jack Iscaro
  3. Steve Longwell
  4. Casey Renaud
  5. Josh Brown
  6. Danny Thomas
  7. Simi Moala
  8. Luke Campbell

Utah Warriors

  1. Olive Kilifi
  2. Veremalua Vugakoto
  3. Angus MacLellan
  4. Jurie Van Vuuren
  5. Aston Fortuin
  6. Thomas Tu’avao
  7. Bailey Wilson
  8. Lance Williams
  9. Michael Baska
  10. Hagen Schulte
  11. Joseph Mano
  12. Calvin Whiting
  13. Mika Kruse
  14. Josh Whippy
  15. Mikey Te’o

Reserves:

  1. Chad Gough
  2. Alex Tucci
  3. Paul Mullen
  4. Mike Gieselman
  5. Saia ‘Uhila
  6. Fraser Hurst
  7. Derek Ellingson
  8. James Vaifale