San Diego to Visit DC for Pride-Themed Clash – Week 17 Preview

Old Glory will host their first ever match against the San Diego Legion this Saturday. Neither team is in the playoff race, so both are playing for pride at this point. Much like last week, Old Glory will be fielding an inexperienced team full of fresh faces. Last week, they brought passion and a desire to prove themselves that led to one of their best recent performances. This week, energized by a home crowd, they should do even better.

Details

  • When: July 10, 2021
  • Time: 5:00 p.m. ET
  • Where: Segra Field (map, tickets)
  • Channel: NBCSW (local), The Rugby Network (national, overseas)
  • Weather forecast: 83°F and sunny
  • Line: SDL by 3 (from Tackle the Numbers)
  • Pre-match Fixtures:
    • 11:30 a.m. – Old Glory U19 Girls Academy vs Free Jacks U19 Girls Academy
    • 1:00 p.m. – Old Glory U19 Boys Academy vs Free Jacks U19 Boys Academy
    • 3:00 p.m. – Washington Renegades vs Baltimore Flamingoes

Preview

How good is the San Diego Legion?

After reaching the finals in 2019 and going undefeated in 2020, San Diego were the clear favorites in heading into 2021. However, they got off to a rough start. They lost all but two of their first eight matches, including one to the struggling Seattle Seawolves. However, in the middle of the season they pulled off an abrupt turnaround, blowing out a good NOLA Gold team. They went on a run, even looking for a moment like they could make the playoffs. However, losses to Austin and LA put an end to that hope. Overall, it’s been an up-and-down season for the Legion.

San Diego won their last match, easily dispatching Seattle with a 20 point lead by halftime. Their attack was sublime, with damaging runs that cut open the Seawolves defense. They scored three tries in ten minutes, and proved that they don’t need a lot of time to set up an attack.

San Diego has a number of players that Old Glory fans should be concerned about. Lock Josh Furno has been a star on defense, and Paddy Ryan has been a rock in the scrum. Tevita Tameilau at 8 has also been a force to be reckoned with. In the backs, Nate Augspurger’s return from injury at scrumhalf has brought another level to their attack. Their back line is simply full of stars. Tiaan Loots at center, Bjorn Basson on the wing, and Cecil Afrika at fullback have been as good as any other backs in the league.

Old Glory fans will actually see a familiar face in Legion lineup. Thomas Morani, who was originally signed by the Houston Sabercats for 2021, played for Old Glory in three matches back in April and early May. He was only on a temporary contract, though, to cover for the loss of Ciaran Hearn and Doug Fraser to injury. After that expired, he signed with San Diego for the rest of the season, and he has been playing exceptionally well.

What does Old Glory need to do to win?

One of the things I highlighted in my takeaways from the loss last week was how much more free the team seemed. The infusion of fresh faces who were eager to make good use of their rare playing time, combined with the lifting of weighting expectations from the usual starters, lead to a much better form of rugby than we’ve seen from Old Glory in a while. They looked livelier and more dynamic, more like the team we all got to know last year.

That freedom will be essential in this match. San Diego is probably most like Utah in how they play; they are aggressive on attack with strong running and support lines. Old Glory will have to cover well on defense, because leaving any space to the Legion runners will likely prove fatal. On attack, Old Glory shouldn’t be afraid to play heads-up, aggressive rugby. A team like San Diego is almost guaranteed to get significant ground running the ball, so trying to play a conservative, territory game won’t work. Old Glory should keep ball in hand and try to open space for their own playmakers to work their magic.

Old Glory is going to be fielding an inexperienced team again, partly by design and partly by necessity. With Stan South injured and Casey Renaud sick, we may see a some players cover out of position at lock if Api Naikatini or Tevita Naqali need to leave the field. Cory Daniel is now the locked-in starter at flanker, as the Callum Gibbins transitions to a more coaching-focused role. Dacoda Worth once again comes off the bench. In the backs, with Thretton Palamo injured we will once more see Simi Moala come off the bench at center. Sam Cusano and D’Montae Noble will be covering the wings.

Lineups

Old Glory DC

  1. Jamie Dever
  2. James King
  3. Steven Longwell
  4. Tevita Naqali
  5. Api Naikatini
  6. Cory Daniel
  7. Mungo Mason
  8. Josh Brown
  9. Danny Tusitala
  10. Jason Robertson
  11. Sam Cusano
  12. Ciaran Hearn
  13. Renata Roberts-Te Nana
  14. D’Montae Noble
  15. Dylan Taikato-Simpson

Reserves:

  1. Max Lum
  2. Jack Iscaro
  3. Dante Lopresti
  4. Mo Katz
  5. Dacoda Worth
  6. Danny Thomas
  7. Owen Sheehy
  8. Simi Moala

San Diego Legion

  1. Faka’osi Pifeleti
  2. Dean Muir
  3. Paddy Ryan
  4. Keni Nasoqeqe
  5. Aaron Mitchell
  6. Jasa Veremalua
  7. Dan Pryor
  8. Tevita Tameilau
  9. Nate Augspurger
  10. Santiago González Iglesias
  11. Bjorn Basson
  12. Tiaan Loots
  13. Thomas Morani
  14. Cameron Clark
  15. Cecil Afrika

Reserves:

  1. Peter Malcolm
  2. Nathan Sylvia
  3. Chris Baumann
  4. Derrick Broussard
  5. Cronan Gleeson
  6. Ethan McVeigh
  7. Patrick Madden
  8. Ryan Matyas