Since the Philadelphia United Rugby Selects defeated Old Glory DC Selects in February, two Philadelphia United Rugby Select players joined professional Major League Rugby teams. Danny Giannascoli was drafted by the Utah Warriors and Ryheem Powell was signed by the Dallas Jackals to their development team.
The Philadelphia United Rugby Selects and Old Glory Selects are two representative sides that are creating high-performance opportunities for players. The Old Glory Selects and the Captial Rugby Selects are two select sides from the Capital Rugby Union.
There is also other representative club rugby being played in the United States. USA Rugby South, Empire GU Selects, SoCal Griffins, Northern California Pelicans, the Texas Rugby Union Selects, and Utah Selects, are several presentative teams that are revitalizing rugby pathway opportunities for both men and women.
There are also Academies and organizations that are providing high-performance opportunities, such as the Northeast Academy, Tiger Rugby, American Rugby Pro Training Center (ARPTC), Scion Rugby Academy, and Santa Barbara Rugby Academy, Atavus Rugby, to name a few, as newer organizations have also been developing players. Age-grade rugby needs have been fostered for years by some of the above organizations, as well as the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy.
Major League Rugby has also created pathways which could lead to professional opportunities. A number of teams have created senior development or academy sides.
Philadelphia United Rugby Selects vs Old Glory Selects
The following recap has been written by Schuykill River Rugby President and Philadelphia United Rugby’s David Codell. To view the rosters of both teams, click here.
On February 15 2020 the newly formed Philadelphia United Rugby Select Side took on the Old Glory Selects at South Jersey RFC’s facility in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Philadelphia United, which is the brainchild of Schuylkill River Director of Rugby Pat Boyle and Schuylkill River Rugby Club President Dave Codell, was well prepared for their debut performance under Coach Jon Grasso and earned a 32-30 victory in their inaugural match.
With only one tryout and two training sessions under their belts United would have been forgiven for getting off to slow start but they actually took the lead early in the match thanks to a penalty kick from up and coming young player Danny Giannascoli who has had a tremendous playing career for Loyola Maryland and stepped onto the National scene last summer as a 7s player. However, from there things went Old Glory’s way for the remainder of the half as the visitors kicked a penalty of their own and then added four tries in the last 15 minutes of the half to take a 27-3 lead into halftime.
In the second half Philly United made the commitment to do whatever it would take to win the match and tries were scored by Tom Parry, Ben Janssen, and Bruce Dolan to bring the score to 27-22. Chris Wiggins also deserves a lot of credit for setting the physical tone in the middle of the field. Old Glory added a penalty with under 10 minutes remaining in the match to make it 30-22 and it looked like Philly United’s comeback would fall short until Danny Giannascoli scored a penalty with 8 minutes to go and added a converted try with 4 minutes left to give Philly United a 32-30 lead and ultimately win the match.
The second match of the day featured Philly United’s Developmental Side, the Philadelphia United Militia, against the Capital Selects. The Capital was simply too strong and experienced as they raced out to a 38-0 lead before the Militia added tries from Jonathan Ahern of St. Joe’s University and South Jersey’s Isaac Frazier playing on his home field. Despite the 38-12 scoreline the match was a positive experience for the Militia players as it gave them an opportunity to go against elite competition and see where they need to develop as individual players.
After the matches Director of Rugby Pat Boyle stated that “today was a great day for Philadelphia rugby as a whole. Our region has a lot of talent and we proved that our top players can join together and compete against anyone in the country. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the selectors at the tryout and the entire coaching staff. By bringing in Jon Grasso from Schuylkill River, Mike McCandless from Doylestown, and Jack Bukowski from Wilkes-Barre we were able to cover Divisions 1-3 and give ourselves a chance to put together two solid teams. The future is bright for Philadelphia United and we’re going to continue working together to develop rugby in our city.”
Team Manager Dave Codell and Head Coach Jon Grasso both mentioned that they would like to thank all of the local players, coaches, and teams, for their cooperation throughout this endeavor and their willingness to trust Philly United to look out for everyone’s best interests.