Old Glory End Season Against Austin for Cuisine Solutions Cup – Week 18 Preview

Old Glory’s first full season in Major League Rugby will draw to a close at Segra Field on Saturday against the Austin AGs. It’s been an up and down season, but the team will want to end on a high note in front of the home crowd. There’s hardware on the line, too, as this will be the second edition of the Cuisine Solutions Cup. Old Glory holds the cup, which they won in a 28-19 victory against Austin last year.

Details

  • When: Saturday, July 17, 2021
  • Time: 5:00 p.m. ET
  • Where: Segra Field (map, tickets)
  • Channel: NBCSW (local), The Rugby Network (national, overseas)
  • Weather forecast: 92°F and mostly sunny
  • Line: AUS by 6 (from Tackle the Numbers)
  • Pre-match Fixtures:
    • 1:00 p.m. – Met NY u23 All-Stars vs Rugby South All-Stars
    • 3:00 p.m. – Cardinals vs Roosters

Preview

How good are the Austin AGs?

Austin fans are going to have mixed feelings about this season. On the one hand, their current 9-6 record is a huge improvement over their winless 2019 campaign. It’s also better than the single win they managed in 2020. However, Austin fans will be feeling the inevitable disappointment of coming so close to the playoffs, only to fall short. They were neck and neck with Utah for most of the season, only being eliminated from contention by their loss last week to LA.

Early in the season, Austin relied heavily on their defense to get them through matches. From week two to week eleven, Austin gave up just 13 points per match, an impressively low number. However, their attack was dismal, as they only averaged 19 points themselves. In recent weeks, though, we’ve seen a shift. The AGs have let their defense slide a bit, in favor of a more aggressive and effective attack. They now concede an average of 25 points, but score an average of 31.

Austin has a lot of good players to watch out for. Loose forwards Cam Dodson and Dominic Akina have been game-changers. In the back line, they have a stable of powerful runners that includes Zinzan Elan-Puttick and Rodrick Waters. Austin will also have available their players who travelled with the Eagles: flyhalf Will Magie and center Bryce Campbell. Overall, though, their roster is leans towards young and inexperienced players. Interestingly, loosehead prop Jake Turnbull, who started for Old Glory last time these teams met in 2020, will now start for Austin.

In short, Austin is a very good team. They have plenty of talent and have found a brand of rugby that has been effective in recent weeks. However, there is definitely an opening for Old Glory to come away with a win. They will have to handle the disappointment of dreams dashed, while Old Glory is just peaking.

What does Old Glory need to do to win?

The last few weeks have seen a significant improvement in the quality of play coming from Old Glory. They’ve looked lively and fiery, largely driven by coming-of-age of the large number of inexperienced players OGDC has been bringing in. Last week against San Diego, we saw the maturation of a youth movement that has been brewing for sometime. Finally, all the pieces are starting to come together.

To win, Old Glory is going to need their young players to keep on delivering. Perhaps more important, though, is just that they stay confident. It is clear that the more experienced players have really come to trust their rookie comrades, and that is what has unlocked the potential of this side. Confidence is a powerful thing, and if this side can maintain that faith they have in themselves and each other, that will go a long way towards helping them win. The loss of Cory Daniel at flanker is disappointing, as is the loss of Jamie Dever at loosehead prop. In Dever’s place, we see Jack Iscaro start with debutant Hannibal Vaivao on the bench.

Of course, it won’t hurt that Old Glory will be getting back some international players of its own. Mikey Sosnene-Feagai returns at hooker and Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz returns at number eight, both fresh off of a close battle with England, while Mike Dabulas, who also travelled with the Eagles, will slot back in on the wing. Canadian international Doug Fraser has been delayed leaving England, so he will not be available.

I think Old Glory will win, because they will playing for the home crowd, hoping to set their season right. If nothing else, it will be an entertaining match, with both sides leaning into their young future stars.

Lineups

Old Glory DC

  1. Jack Iscaro
  2. Mikey Sosnene-Feagai
  3. Steven Longwell
  4. Api Naikatini
  5. Tevita Naqali
  6. Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz
  7. Mungo Mason
  8. Josh Brown
  9. Danny Tusitala
  10. Jason Robertson
  11. Mike Dabulas
  12. Ciaran Hearn
  13. Renata Roberts-Te Nana
  14. D’Montae Noble
  15. Dylan Taikato-Simpson

Reserves:

  1. James King
  2. Hannibal Vaivao
  3. Dante Lopresti
  4. Casey Renaud
  5. Dacoda Worth
  6. Danny Thomas
  7. Thretton Palamo
  8. Owen Sheehy

Austin AGs

  1. Jake Turnbull
  2. Hugh Roach
  3. Mason Pederson
  4. Isaac Ross
  5. Sebastian De Chaves
  6. Dominic Akina
  7. Luke McCaffrey
  8. Michael de Waal
  9. Pete Cowley
  10. Mack Mason
  11. Rodrick Waters
  12. Bryce Campbell
  13. David Still
  14. Nick Johnson
  15. Will Magie

Reserves:

  1. Brendan Rams
  2. Luke White
  3. Paddy Ryan
  4. Cam Dodson
  5. Dom Bailey
  6. Sidney Shoop
  7. Ned Hodson
  8. Zinzan Elan-Puttick