Despite the uncertain times, Major League Rugby will eventually return with Old Glory as part of the lineup. As they start announcing the re-signings of players, we will track them here.
Dante Lopresti, Local Hooker/Prop, Signed for Second Season
Dante got a lot of playing time last year due to the injuries in the front row, starting two matches at hooker. He acquitted himself well and is a great example of the level of young talent in the local clubs. It’s good to see Old Glory investing in local players and establishing a pipeline – also a part of this announcement was the signing of two other young locals, Owen Sheehy and Jack Carroll.
Old Glory DC is excited to announce the signing of three Gonzaga College High School alumni, Dante Lopresti, Owen Sheehy, and Jack Carroll to the 2021 roster. 👏— Old Glory DC (@OldGloryDC) February 25, 2021
Read more » https://t.co/NiDEKCmUEv@GonzagaSports | @GonzagaGoodNews | @usmlr pic.twitter.com/MrCrOlSwhW
Travis Larsen, Flanker, Headed to San Diego
A valued player and regular starter at flanker, Travis Larsen, has decided to take his skills to the San Diego Legion. It’s always a shame to lose someone with the depth of experience that Larsen has, but OGDC has a lot of young talent to fill his shoes at flanker.
🚨 Join us in welcoming Travis Larsen to the SD Legion!— San Diego Legion (@SDLegion) January 6, 2021
🏉 You might recognize this Canadian-born flanker from his time with @USMLR. Travis previous played rugby in Italy’s top league & was part of Canada’s A squad.
We’re thrilled to have in #SanDiego!#WeAreLegion pic.twitter.com/FKoTXtdBOh
Sosnene-Feagai, Naqali, Fraser, and Roberts-Tenana Returning, DTS Leaving
Although the team has made no official announcement, head coach Andrew Douglas mentioned a few more names of returning players on the MLR Kickoff podcast, as well as one leaving.
Mikey Sosnene-Feagai, who didn’t get much playing time in the early season due to injuries, will be returning at hooker. Also in the forwards, the towering Tevita Naqali will continue at lock. In the backs, the multiple-try-scoring center Doug Fraser will return, as will Renata Roberts Tenana, who played all around the back line.
For family reasons, starting fullback Dylan Taikato-Simpson will be staying in Australia for 2021 and won’t play for Old Glory. He might return for the 2022 season.
Dynamic Scrum-Half Danny Tusitala to Return
Danny Tusitala, acclaimed starting scrum-half, who together with Jason Robertson formed the most dynamic half-back pairings in the league, will return for 2021. Old Glory had one of the most fast-paced attacks in the MLR last year, and a lot of that was down to the work of Tusitala. Having him back will ensure that the lightning pace will continue for another year.
Co-Captain Mungo Mason re-signs with Old Glory
Flanker Mungo Mason was an integral part of the Old Glory team that exceeded expectations last year. He personally contributed a ton to both attack and defense, being in the top four for both ball carries and tackles in the league. However, perhaps more important was his leadership. The Old Glory forwards struggled with scrums and lineouts the whole season, and that can have a demoralizing effect on a pack. Someone like Mungo Mason is key to keeping up moral in those circumstances.
It’s great to see him come back.
Star fly-half Jason Robertson returning
Jason “The Toe” Robertson, the star fly-half who lead one of the most dynamic attacking lines in the league, will be returning to Old Glory. While not especially surprising, this is a very important signing for the team. He lead the league in total points scored at 67 in the shortened season and was a consistently accurate kicker from the tee.
Robertson made up half of what was widely considered one of the best half-back pairings in the league. It remains to be announced whether the other half, Danny Tusitala, will be returning, but even just Robertson alone guarantees a quick, explosive attack.
Young Flanker Nic Mirhashem re-signs with OGDC
A flanker out of Barcelona, Spain, Nic Mirhashem is a good re-signing for Old Glory. Although he didn’t take the field in 2020, he was one of the best college rugby players in the country in 2018 and 2019. It’s good to see Old Glory keeping the promising young players on its roster, as they will eventually be the backbone of a future OGDC team.
Young prop Will Vakalahi staying in DC
Despite being barely over 20, Vakalahi played 160 minutes as a prop for Old Glory last season in all five games. He showed a lot of promise in those minutes, with the scrum seeming to be a bit more stable while he was in it.
Old Glory is bringing in three experienced, professional props from outside the team in an attempt to avoid the disastrous scrums from last year, so there’s a good chance Vakalahi won’t be starting. Still, he has proven that he can be a reliable backup, and as he continues to develop, his role on the team will only increase.
Old Glory DC welcomes back tighthead prop Will Vakalahi to the Old Glory 2021 squad.— Old Glory DC (@OldGloryDC) September 24, 2020
The tighthead prop played 160 minutes in five matches during the 2020 MLR season and ended the shortened season with 10 ball carries.
Read more » https://t.co/5cQRX2eu1X pic.twitter.com/0z6MWVDmzC
Local fly-half Sean Hartig returning for 2021
It’s always good to see Old Glory investing in local talent, and that’s what they are doing keeping Hartig on the roster. Though he didn’t see the field last season, the Maryland native is a bright young talent who excelled in college rugby. He can continue to develop as a professional player, and hopefully a full season gives him an opportunity for some live-game experience.
Hooker Mo Katz re-signs with Old Glory
A key part of the 2019 exhibition squad and graduate of James Madison University, Mo Katz will continue to play for Old Glory. Since he sustained a preseason injury that kept him out of the short season, we haven’t had a chance to see his full potential.
Backup fly-half Mike Dabulas signs for a second year
The 23-year-old didn’t see a ton of action this past year, which isn’t surprising considering that he was standing behind a star like Jason Robertson. He made the best of his combined 19 minutes a game time with a try, though, and the promising former All-American is a good young talent to have on the roster.
Ciaran Hearn is coming back for the second year of his contract
Another Canadian international, Ciaran Hearn, has been confirmed to be returning for the next season. He was a key part of Old Glory’s excellent attack and should help provide the same again next year.
Old Glory DC welcomes back Ciaran Hearn, 34-year-old center and Canadian International, for the 2021 season as a continuation of his two-year contract.— Old Glory DC (@OldGloryDC) August 13, 2020
Read more » https://t.co/ZECygIj64x pic.twitter.com/ub1I5LfRWp
Doug Fraser to return at wing
Canadian international Doug Fraser has been re-signed. He scored three tries in OGDC’s five games and is the second of the team’s dynamic back line to re-sign.
Prop Apisai Naikatini is coming back
Api Naikatini, who was a frequent starter at prop in 2020, will be returning for his second year with Old Glory. The former Seattle Seawolf brings a lot of professional experience to the forward pack.
Old Glory DC welcomes back Apisai Naikatini, 35-year-old Fijian second row, for the 2021 season as a part of his two-year contract.— Old Glory DC (@OldGloryDC) July 31, 2020
Read more » https://t.co/59FyWnLUls#MLR2021 #GreatestGlory pic.twitter.com/7pDNo6eLLl
Young prop Jack Iscaro is staying with the team
DC-area local Jack Iscaro will be back next year. He has actually been with the team since the 2019 exhibition season, but he was injured most of last season.
The prop position is still a huge question mark after the shaky scrums last year, so I’m sure that we will see Iscaro in the rotation as the coaching staff figures out what works.
Old Glory DC is pleased to welcome back Jack Iscaro, 23-year-old prop and Gonzaga College High School alum, for the 2021 season.— Old Glory DC (@OldGloryDC) July 29, 2020
Read more » https://t.co/VYMaAysjiO#MLR2021 #GreatestGlory pic.twitter.com/KdTCFK7BQG
Starting Number 8 Jamason Fa-anana-Schultz is coming back
Fa’anana-Schultz was OGDC’s starting Number 8 for every match in 2020 and was one of the mainstays of the forward pack. It’s great to have him back for the future.
Old Glory DC is pleased to announce the re-signing of Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz, 24-year-old loose forward, for the 2021 season.— Old Glory DC (@OldGloryDC) July 24, 2020
Read more » https://t.co/yJlr09yl3c#MLR2021 #GreatestGlory pic.twitter.com/EgHniVAN6c
Co-Captain Thretton Palamo is the first to re-sign
Thretton Palamo, co-captain and lynchpin of the back line, is the first OGDC player to re-sign for the 2021 season. He started every game, playing a combination of center and wing.
Tendai “The Beast” Mtawarira will be leaving to head a company in South Africa
Old Glory fans had hoped for a bit more time with the South African rugby legend affectionately known as The Beast, but he has confirmed that he will not be returning to Major League Rugby next year. Tendai will instead be stepping into his new role as the CEO of Umlindi Security, a South African company.
Super pumped up and excited for my new adventure 🙏🏽. https://t.co/evGs4sUxch— Tendai Mtawarira (@Beast_TM) June 19, 2020