Going into the DI National Championships with a new coach and making it to the semifinals is an incredible feat. Last year, Metropolis RFC finished its season with a 37-3 loss to eventual DI champions Belmont Shore and a loss in the 3rd/4th match to Palmer. This year, though, expectations are higher.
Last season, then first-year head coach Nathan Osborne came into the job with absolutely no expectations. As the season went on though, he realized what he had in front of him, a Final Four caliber team that came back from Glendale, Colo. with confidence. The first appearance in club history and a building block towards their ultimate goal - to win a national championship.
They have the tools and pieces to put everything back together for another deep run. Everyone is back from last year’s squad and have a full year under Osborne’s system. Coaches and players have also been tapping a few recruiting lines as well.
On top of talking with some of the new locals and college players, Osborne and his staff have made Spearhead Academy a high priority. Located in southern Minnesota, Spearhead is a residency program for elite high school players and crossover athletes that wish to get top quality training and education for the future.
Founder and former USA Eagle manager Rob Holder, who coached Air Force to a national collegiate championship, runs the academy. And in the coming weeks, his players will be joining their new teammates in the Twin Cities and getting ready to play great rugby.
“The word from Rob is these guys are pretty good,” Osborne said. “I’m excited to see what they can do on a rugby pitch. Anytime you can swing a few recruits from that school, you know you’re getting quality. Can’t wait for them to get here to add to our depth.”
And, though the taste of last year is still fresh in their mouths, Osborne says this year won’t be about revenge. Rather, moving forward by making subtle improvements to compete at the level they know they are capable.
“While last year was a bit of a disappointment, I truly believe it was a blessing in disguise,” Osborne said. “No one expected us to get very far and to make it to the final four is a major boost because now we what we can do.”
Osborne quickly added that a big part of the success for the team last year that will leak into this season is cohesiveness.
“This team really came together last year and fed off each other’s positivity,” he said. “I’ve never coached a closer group of guys that play the game with a lot of intensity, but love to joke around off the field.”
And though they may have a lot of things working in their favor, the one and probably the most imminent is their schedule. Being in one of the more competitive regions that includes the likes of Chicago Lions, Wisconsin, Palmer and Mystic River (all of whom made the national tournament last year); Metropolis definitely has their work cut out for them.
“We know what’s in front of us and are looking forward to the challenge,” Osborne said. “We learned a lot from last year and are taking that into the fall season. Knowing what I know about this team’s potential and their performance last year, I have no doubt this team is ready for greatness.”
Metropolis has an early start to the year going on the road in two weeks against the GOATS in Omaha and possibly against Kansas City Blues the next weekend.
Metropolis Rugby Club
Head Coach: Nate Osborn
Sports & Orthopaedic Specialist’s Field at Columbia Park, Minneapolis, Minn.
Last Season: 5-3 in Midwest West. 2nd seed out of Midwest, 4th in Nation.