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Old Glory still flying: Expect DC's pro rugby team to return in 2021

The inaugural season for Old Glory got cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. The owners say it's actually a blessing.

WASHINGTON — Did you know D.C. has a professional rugby team? Old Glory was one of the top Major League Rugby teams in the country before the pandemic hit.  

While other professional sports leagues have questionable futures, MLR expects to be back in 2021 and D.C.’s team with it.

Starting in February, Saturdays and Sundays at Catholic University were for D.C.’s professional rugby team: Old Glory

“We hadn’t had a great first game, there were a number of reasons for that,” Old Glory head coach Andrew Douglas said. “But from that first game we’d grown. Each game we come together.”

After their first loss, Old Glory went on a tear; winning the next four straight. Just as they were overtaking the league, the coronavirus spread across the country. By end of March, the league canceled the season.

“It’s disappointing how it turned out,” Douglas said. “But you look at what’s happening around the world and you just hope people are safe and well at this stage.”

This was Old Glory’s first season, but Major League Rugby’s third season. In a time when the pandemic essentially killed the startup XFL, apparently that’s not the case for professional rugby.

“Cutting the league short actually saved money,” chairman of Old Glory’s owners Chris Dunlavey said.  “It put us in a better position to support the team going into next year.”

Dunlavey expects 2021 to bring Old Glory’s second season. He and the other owners see economic challenges, but what will drive their success will be the fans.

“(The fans) absolutely rocked Cardinal Stadium at Catholic University for our home games and gave full support to our team,” he said. “We fully expected with that kind of support our team was going to make a real run at the championship. “

As the owners look ahead to 2021, the team can’t wait to pick up on the pitch where they left off in 2020.

“We’ve got a really exciting foundation here and an exciting team to watch,” Douglas said. “Teams don’t necessarily wanna come to DC and play us, which is a good thing.”

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