Old Glory to Face LA in the Coliseum

OGDC will be crossing the continent to take on the undefeated Los Angeles team in the iconic Coliseum. LA has looked formidable through their first five matches, making winning a daunting task for Old Glory. Last week’s win over the New England Free Jacks looked great for DC, but they will need to play 80 minutes of top-notch rugby to beat LA.

Details

  • When: Saturday, May 1, 2021
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: The Coliseum (map)
  • Channel: FS2 (national), The Rugby Network (overseas)
  • Weather forecast: 75°F and partly cloudy
  • Line: LA by 6 (from Tackle the Numbers)

Preview

How good is LA?

Very, very good. LA is easily playing the best attacking rugby in the entire league. In their first five matches, they have yet to score fewer than 40 points and they are averaging 47 points. And, frankly, that doesn’t fully capture the strength of this LA side, as their scoring slows not because they can’t score more, but because they don’t need to.

Their team is built around a solid core of Australian internationals: Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Bill Meakes, and Harrison Goddard. Big names include Adam Ashe and DTH van der Merwe. This star-studded cast has run through their opposition, with the line breaks impossible to prevent and the offloads too on-point to handle.

The only real weakness of this team is in the set pieces. Their scrums and lineouts have looked shaky, and provide one of the few potential footholds for opponents. No one has been able to keep up enough in the rest of the game for that to matter much, though.

What does Old Glory need to do to win?

With the return of Jason Robertson, OGDC’s fantastic half-back pairing has been restored. That has allowed them to play some great attacking rugby, potentially good enough to keep up with LA in a track meet. Still, this team hasn’t scored more than 35 points, and LA doesn’t score less than 40, so there will still be work to do. The return of DTS may be to the key to that, giving them just a bit more juice on attack.

On defense, Old Glory will have to be aggressive and disruptive. There is a template for throwing LA off their game, as the Arrows managed to hold them to 10 points for the first 38 minutes of their matchup. They did that by really going all out and shutting down any momentum. However, that’s a hard way to play, and in the end Toronto couldn’t keep it up. If they’re going to better, OGDC will have to be at full speed on defense for the whole match.

Old Glory will also have to take advantage of their strong set piece, and challenge every scrum and lineout. Winning the small battles like these could be the difference between a narrow win and a blowout loss. In a similar vein, they can’t give LA any easy ground through penalties. This will be a hard enough match even if the calls favor DC.

Winning here is possible. It will require Old Glory to match the best performances they’ve had, on both attack and defense, for a full 80 minutes. If they have slow starts to the halves and let LA pull ahead, then they have little hope of catching up. If they run out of gas by the end of the halves, LA won’t hesitate to take advantage. The margin for error is slim-to-none.

Lineups

Old Glory DC

  1. Jamie Dever
  2. Mikey Sosnene-Feagai
  3. Steven Longwell
  4. Tevita Naqali
  5. Api Naikatini
  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. Osea Kolinisau
  15. Mike Dabulas

Reserves:

  1. Max Lum
  2. Jack Iscaro
  3. Dante Lopresti
  4. Casey Renaud
  5. Josh Brown
  6. Dylan Thomas
  7. D’Montae Noble
  8. Cory Daniel

Los Angeles

  1. JP Smith
  2. Mahe Vailanu
  3. Charlie Abel
  4. Dave Dennis
  5. Nathan Den Hoedt
  6. Corey Thomas
  7. Christian Poidevin
  8. Langilangi Haupeakui
  9. Harrison Goddard
  10. Matt Giteau
  11. DTH van der Merwe
  12. Luke Burton
  13. Adam Ashley-Cooper
  14. John Ryberg
  15. Glenn Bryce

Reserves:

  1. Lindsey Stevens
  2. Blake Rogers
  3. Frikkie de Beer
  4. Angus Cottrell
  5. Adam Ashe
  6. Cristian Rodriguez
  7. Ryan James
  8. Luke Carty