Good afternoon, my name is Gethin Binns, and this is the name TBD Free Jacks fan blog.

This evening, at 7 PM Eastern Standard Time, the Free Jacks will meet Old Glory DC in battle at The St. James in Springfield, VA. If you want a fair, and balanced, analysis of this evening's matchup, then Alistair over on Glorious Rugby did a fantastic and sober write-up of the teams and what to expect.

This is not that.

Huzzah for Your New England Free Jacks!

The Free Jacks will defeat Old Glory in their own house this evening, making a statement of intent for the rest of the season. A shot-heard-round-the-Eastern-Conference, if you will. As no team sheet has been released for your Free Jacks, it is tough to predict who will be pulling on the rather stylish blue-white-and-red hoops today. In the hype video for this match, new head coach Scott Mathie stressed that he intended to use the game to improve unit cohesion among his forwards, but also to blood some rookies, including those from the Independents development side (Congratulations to the Independent Reds for winning the National Collegiate Rugby All-Star Shield!). It can be predicted that the forwards will be the most veteran-heavy group, with some experimentation in the back line.

Generally speaking, however, Capain Josh Larsen is back, and so are Beaudein Waaka, John Poland, and Dougie Fife. Harrison Boyle is also expected to return as the starting flyhalf. Exciting new faces, such as Wayne Van Der Bank, may also make an appearance, as may Slade McDowall (who is on a five-year contract!), a 23 year-old kiwi flanker, previously of the Highlanders. Paula Balekana, one of the league's better wingers, has also come on board to provide attacking help.

A prospect who may make an appearance at flyhalf is Patrick Sheehy, an up-and-coming 24 year old who is on a development contract for the Jacks. The former Dartmouth flyhalf is the son of Paul Sheehy, a former Eagle fullback.

It will also be a chance to see how the team is gelling after the introduction of the new head coach after Ryan Martin moved on. The new team, headed by Scott Mathie, has a lot to prove after Martin's fairly successful wrangling of the practically still expansion-fresh side last year.

Uh, DC Will Be Playing Too...

Against such crushing opposition, made all the more potent by the deep hunger that must be festering in the Free Jack's bellies following missing the playoffs last year, the somewhat depleted Old Glory side will probably struggle. This is particularly likely given their somewhat bruising loss to the Toronto Arrows last week. While that team lacked the star-power of scrum-half Danny Tusitala in the squad, it is not going to make too much of a difference against the apparently-almighty power of your Free Jacks. DC is looking at a tough season ahead, and hopefully can serve to warm-up the engines for the Free Jacks playoff-run season.

In Conclusion,

If I'm wrong about any of this, sadly no one will be able to contradict me, as the game is not being streamed publicly. One must imagine this is a devious ploy by Old Glory DC to save face in what is set to be an incredibly competitive division. Rugby New Jersey is coming for us all, and it can only get worse for you if you let them smell blood.

Lineups

Old Glory DC

  1. Jack Iscaro
  2. Mo Katz
  3. Jake Ilnicki
  4. Api Naikatini
  5. Stan South
  6. Luke Campbell
  7. Dom Bailey
  8. Jamason Fa'anana-Schultz
  9. Danny Tusitala
  10. Mike Dabulas
  11. Michah Griffin
  12. Junior Sa'u
  13. Doug Fraser
  14. Renata Roberts-Te Nana
  15. Owen Sheehy

Reserves:

  1. Rob Irimescu
  2. Will Vakalahi
  3. Kyle Stewart
  4. Dante Lopresti
  5. Tevita Naqali
  6. David Beach
  7. Dacoda Worth
  8. Fintan Coleman
  9. Danny Thomas
  10. LJ Koi-Larbi
  11. Simi Moala
  12. John Lefevre

New England Free Jacks

To be announced (Mr. Englehart, please reply to my emails!)

Programming Notes

Hi, I'm Gethin. I am a big rugby fan and will be writing for this blog hopefully at least once a week. You can reach me at @RugbyBoiBinns on twitter, and I am glad to take on any advice or feedback you can give me. My podcast, What the Freejack???, will be up on Apple Podcasts soon, but for now is limited to Spotify.

I will be writing up an offseason recap and season preview post sometime this weekend, and you can hopefully expect routine recaps and articles about the Free Jacks as the season goes on.