Old Glory Visits Austin for Cuisine Solutions Cup – Week 4 Preview

Old Glory DC will continue their road tour of Texas with a visit to the Austin Gilgronis to play for the first chance to lift the Cuisine Solutions Cup.

Details

  • When: Saturday, March 1, 2020
  • Time: 4:00 pm Kickoff (EST)
  • Where: Bold Stadium, Austin (map)
  • Opponent: Austin Gilgronis
  • Channel: MLR Facebook (streaming), NBC Sports Washington (local)
  • Watch party: Exiles Bar (map)

Preview

Let me get a couple of things out of the way early. Wondering what a Gilgroni is? It’s a “Texas-sized cocktail” presumably based on a negroni. The “Gil” part comes from one of owners of the team, Adam Gilchrist. Still confused why this the name of rugby team? Join the club. In an attempt at a fresh start, the Austin Elite renamed themselves to the Austin Herd, then quickly renamed themselves again to the Austin Gilgronis. Only time will tell how it will turns out.

Cuisine Solutions is the jersey sponsor for Old Glory, and they just opened a large new facility in Austin. Seeing an opportunity for some good marketing, they sponsored the Cuisine Solutions Cup between the two teams. It even comes with a shiny trophy.

How good are the Austin Gilgronis?

Last weekend, Austin had their best result since 2018 by tying with the Utah Warriors. Prior to that draw, they had lost every game since beating Utah in the first season. Over the course of three seasons, they have a record of 3-26-1, with no wins last season. So, at a glance, they’re bad.

However, Austin isn’t lacking in talent. They have two electric backs in Frank Halai and Rodrick Waters, with a good facilitator in scrum-half Marcelo Torrealba. They also have a great front line in Jamie Mackintosh, Tiaan Erasmus, and Mason Pederson. As more and more of their international signings make it through the visa process, their talent will only increase.

So the problem for Austin isn’t talent; it’s everything else. On attack they show a disorganization that spoils the opportunities that their explosive players create. They are capable of creating pressure, playing for territory, and doing all the right things, they just can’t do so consistently. On defense, it’s a similar story. They make good tackles and they don’t give many scrum penalties, but disorganization leads to ill-discipline which gives teams ample opportunity to maintain their momentum.

Overall, Austin is a team lacking an identity. They don’t quite know what their strengths are yet, and they haven’t quite isolated their weaknesses. One of these days, they’ll figure those things out and optimize their game for what they’re good at. On that day they’ll win a game. Until then, they’ll need someone to play down to their level like Utah did last week just to come away with a draw.

Lineup

  1. Jamie Mackintosh
  2. Tiaan Erasmus
  3. Mason Pederson
  4. Potu Laevasa
  5. Maikeli Naromaitoga
  6. Dominic Akina
  7. Lino Saunitoga
  8. Moe Abdelmonem
  9. Marcelo Torrealba
  10. Zinzan Elan-Puttick
  11. Rodrick Waters
  12. Gabriel Farley
  13. Frank Halai
  14. Corey Jones
  15. Rodrigo Silva
  1. Brendan Rams
  2. Juan Echeverria
  3. Larome White
  4. Luca Tani
  5. Stewart Morris
  6. Colby Stevens
  7. Sione Fangaiuiha
  8. Peni Tagive

What does Old Glory DC need to do to win?

In many ways, Old Glory is what Austin could be if they figured themselves out. Old Glory knows where their strengths are, and they have arranged their style of play to best fit those strengths. They have an excellent 9-10 pairing with Danny Tusitala and Jason Robertson. They also have impressive runners who can exploit gaps in a defensive line. When they have the ball, they run forward and really try to maximize the individual talent of the players.

Old Glory also understands their weaknesses and have done a good job covering them up. Obviously, the big weakness is the scrum, which is still not up to par with the rest of the league. But even there, OGDC has figured out how to win 80% of their attacking scrums, and it’s enough for them to make their problems an annoyance rather than a fatal flaw.

In short, Old Glory should win this game. While Austin can compete with them on a talent level, DC has an identity and the Gilgronis don’t. If Old Glory plays like they’ve played up to this point, then they will come away the victors. The biggest threat is if they don’t take this Austin side seriously, relax their play, and let them back in. That’s what Utah did and they barely made it out with a draw.

One interesting thing to watch for is the Old Glory set piece now that Mikey Sosnene-Feagai is back from injury and starting at hooker. It will also be interesting to see how the 20-year-old Will Vakalahi does at loosehead, as the Beast rests this week.

Lineup

  1. Jake Turnbull
  2. Mikey Sosnene-Feagai
  3. Will Vakalahi
  4. Tevita Naqali
  5. Api Naikatini
  6. Travis Larsen
  7. Mungo Mason
  8. Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz
  9. Danny Tusitala
  10. Jason Robertson
  11. Doug Fraser
  12. Ciaran Hearn
  13. Thretton Palamo
  14. Declan O’Donnell
  15. Dylan Taikato-Simpson
  1. Dante Lopresti
  2. Max Lum
  3. Gordon Fullerton
  4. Dylan Pieterse
  5. Matt Hughston
  6. Michael Reid
  7. Mike Dabulas
  8. Renata Roberts-Te Nana