A three-game winning streak has vaulted Old Glory DC into prime position to earn the club's first postseason bid in Major League Rugby.
Old Glory, in its fourth overall season and third year of playing home games at Segra Field in Leesburg, has climbed into second place in the six-team Eastern Conference standings.
Following a 2-5 start to the 2023 season, Old Glory has reeled off consecutive wins over the New York Ironworkers, Utah Warriors and Dallas Jackals.
"We were a little bit unlucky early on with a couple of the losses that we had," said Old Glory first-year head coach Josh Syms, a New Zealand native who also coaches Hawke’s Bay Magpies in the National Provincial Championship. "We had a few guys come off injury and sometimes good playing comes together with good people at the right time."
The top three teams in both the Eastern and Western conferences advance to the Major League Rugby playoffs. The top seed in each conference earns a first-round bye, while the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds play each other with the winner advancing to the conference championship game.
While New England (38 points) holds a nine-point lead atop the Eastern Conference, only five points separate the next four teams -- Old Glory (29), New York (28), NOLA Gold (26) and Rugby ATL (24) -- in the conference standings.
"We are keen to make history and be the first [Old Glory] team to qualify for the Eastern Conference playoffs," Syms said. "After that, we will try to win as many games as we can in the playoffs. If we can win three games in the playoffs, we can win a championship."
Winners in four of five home games this season at Segra Field, Old Glory will aim to earn another positive result at home May 14 against conference-leader New England. Game time is 1:30 p.m.
"Our team is doing great this season and the players really enjoy the strong chanting that comes down from the stands," Old Glory executive general manager Marcelo Blanco said. "We want our neighbors of Loudoun County to come to the stadium, get familiar with the game and have a great time."
Along with 80 minutes of rugby action, Blanco notes that fan festivities at Old Glory home games include a kids zone with inflatables, face painting stations, live music, food trucks and a merchandise tent.
Old Glory will play three of its final six regular-season games at home. Following the game against New England, Old Glory will host Seattle on May 27 and Rugby ATL on June 17. Ticket information at oldglorydc.com/tickets/.
"We have a pretty tight-knit rugby community in the area. They are very vocal and supportive of us," Syms said. "We are a growing franchise so the more people we can get on board, the more the players feel the energy of the people in the stands."
Home vs. New England, 1:30 p.m.
Away vs. NOLA Gold, 6 p.m.
Home vs. Rugby ATL, 7 p.m.
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