Old Glory DC thrilled the crowd of 2850 in beating the defending two-time champions Seattle Seawolves in their MLR home opener on Sunday, February 16 at Cardinal Stadium at Catholic University. It came down to the final play of the match as a Seattle player was held up in-goal and ended the match.
The match was preceded with a women’s college match with Life University defeating Penn State 28-12 and a women’s representative match with the Old Glory Selects winning 29-10 over USA Rugby South.
The Old Glory DC vs Seawolves match was broadcast on NBC Sports Washington, Root Sports, and ESPN+.
Last week Old Glory opened the season with a loss at NOLA Gold, while the Seattle Seawolves traveled to San Diego and lost to the Legion in a rematch of the 2019 MLR Championship.
Next week Old Glory will travel to Houston to meet the SaberCats on February 22. The Seattle Seawolves face the Toronto Arrows also on Saturday home at Starfire Sports Complex.
Old Glory DC vs Seattle Seawolves Match Recap
It took three minutes for Old Glory DC to score before their boisterous home crowd. Jason Robertson counterattacked after claiming a Seawolves chip and raced in for a try in the left corner to lead 5-0. He also connected with a penalty goal shortly after to push the lead to 8-0.
An Old Glory penalty had Seattle kicking for territory and attacking from a lineout 5-meters from in-goal. Old Glory’s defended well and after several phases, another penalty had Brock Staller slotting a kick to cut the lead to 8-3. he also added another kick to slice the lead to 8-6.
Old Glory DC had another scoring opportunity after a non-releasing penalty at the breakdown and attacked from a lineout 5-meters out. After 5 pick n ‘goes by the forwards, the ball was cycled wide right with Dylan Taikato-Simpson drawing in defenders for a Doug Fraser try in the right corner to lead 13-6.
With a minute remaining in the half, Old Glory was penalized for a not releasing penalty. Would the Seawolves elect to kick to touch and maul from a lineout 5-meters from in-goal or would they choose to take the points from a Staller boot? The Seawolves elected the latter and went into the break down 13-9.
During the first half, the Seawolves had an edge in the scrum, while Old Glory seemed to have one in the lineouts after a couple of steals. Penalties were a concern, especially for Old Glory as Brock Staller would be perfect on the day with his boot.
The Seawolves plan appeared to be that they would punish Old Glory by attempting penalty goals when opportunities presented itself inside their opponents’ half. That happened early in the second half with Staller cutting the lead to 13-12.
The Seawolves then took advantage of recovering a loose ball and after a Mat Turner slashing run, the ball went wide and resulted in a Riekert Hattingh try with Staller connecting with the extras to take their first lead in the match, 19-13.
Seattle went on the attack again, however, Old Glory co-captain Mungo Mason intercepted a pass and raced 60-meters before being caught. A Seatle penalty resulted in Seawolves Nakai Penny being sent to the bin. Old Glory elected to kick and Jason Robertson cut the lead to 19-16.
Seattle answered back with a penalty goal by Staller to push the lead to 22-16.
A steal of a Seawolves lineout had Taikato-Simpson kicking ahead and following a lineout 5-meters from in-goal, the team mauled with Renata Roberts-TeNana finishing with a try, which was converted by Robertson for a 23-22 lead.
Jason Robertson added a try in the right corner to push the lead to 28-22 with just over a minute remaining in the match. The Seawolves would need a converted try to win after the restart.
The Seawolves clearly tested Old Glory’s resolve and had a sustained attack which ended just prior to the 83rd minute with a player being held up in-goal. With that, Old Glory DC claimed the victory and thrilled their home crowd.
Jason Robertson was clearly the Man of the Match in the winning effort.
After the match, Old Glory DC players were available on the pitch for photos and autographs for the children. Many Seawolves players also made themselves available.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
Old Glory DC: 1Tendai Mtawarira 2 Dante Lopresti 3 Gordon Fullerton 4 Tevita Naqali 5 Api Naikatini 6 Travis Larsen 7 Mungo Mason (CC) 8 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz 9 Danny Tusitala 10 Jason Robertson 11 Renata Roberts TeNana 12 Ciaran Hearn 13 Thretton Palamo (CC) 14 Doug Fraser 15 Dylan Taikato-Simpson16 Max Lum 17 Jake Turnbull 18 Will Vakalahi 19 Dylan Pieterse 20 Matt Hughston 21 Nic Mirhashem 22 Michael Reid 23 Mike Dubulas
Seattle Seawolves: 1 Djustice Sears-Duru 2 Mike Shepherd 3 Jake Ilnicki4 Brad Tucker 5 FP Pelser 6 Andrew Durutalo 7 Nakai Penny 8 Riekert Hattingh (C) 9 JP Smith 10 Scott Dean 11 Brock Staller 12 George Barton 13 Shalom Suniula (VC) 14 David Busby 15 Mat Turner 16 Vili Toluta’u 17 Kellen Gordon 18 Tim Metcher 19 Jeremy Lenaerts 20 Eric Duechle 21 Jope Motokana 22 Joey Iosefo 23 Sitiveni Tamaivena
Pre and Post-Match Player Interviews
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Mikey Sosene-Fengai discusses positional play at hooker, the Mitre 10 Cup, and playing professionally while his family is abroad.
Thretton Palamo and Andrew Durutalo both played for the USA National Team in both 7s and in 15s, with Drew also being an Olympian. Both were asked to respond to the following questions:
- What were the demands, challenges, sacrifices, and rewards of playing with the National Team in 7s and 15s?
- How is the MLR different from playing in other professional leagues?
- How can professional rugby players help to grow the game in the U.S.?
- Thretton also was asked about what it meant to him to play with family on Old Glory DC?
Thretton Palamo, Old Glory DC co-captain
Drew Durutalo, Seattle Seawolves
Old Glory DC Media Day, Feb. 13, 2020
Old Glory held their media day on February 13 at the St. Gregory Hotel in Washington, D.C. Jimmy Cuddihy moderated the panel of owners Chris Dunlavey and Paul Sheehy, newly signed player Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, and head coach Andrew Douglas. Operations John Manson and senior players were also in attendance. (Thretton Palamo, Mungo Mason, Travis Larsen, Danny Tusitala, Dylan Taikato-Simpson, Ciaran Hearn, Jason Robertson, Mickey Sosene-Fengai, & Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz)
Old Glory DC Media Day Presentation
John Manson, Old Glory DC Operations Manager, was Interviewed following the Media Day panel presentation on Feb. 13 at the St Gregory Hotel in Washington D.C. He discussed the role of a team operations manager.