Despite making it to the National Quarterfinals, Metropolis feels a bit like they underachieved in 2012/2013. They were Midwest champs and were steamrolling teams, good teams, throughout the spring, but fell five points short of New Orleans in the Round of 8.
After what’s probably seemed like a long summer, Metropolis is back, with very few additions or subtractions in the personnel department.
“The pick-ups we’ve got are guys that kind of just fell into our laps, which is nice. We’ve had a couple of guys retire, but basically the b-side has filled straight into those spots,” said Metropolis’ Nathan Osborne. “We didn’t have to change too much. Our game plan’s the same and our system’s the same, so we’re just going to hit the ground running. We’ve got a really good team again. The young guys are a year older.”
The Minneapolis club has plenty of young guys, too, including five members of the U20 team that played in the Junior World Championships in France this summer. After a rough campaign there, and a less than ideal end to the previous club season, those young guys are keen to get back in the win column.
“We’re still a little disappointed with the way that we finished that season last year losing to New Orleans, but we feel really confident about the squad that we put together,” said Osborne. “Sometimes those losses are good for the young guys to realize you can’t just turn up to win games, so the intensity of training has been a lot higher than it was this time last year, so everybody’s really hungry to get out and start hitting people.”
The two additions to Metropolis’ first side come from overseas. Zack Osborne is an English forward who has followed a girl stateside, and Ryne Bowden is a 22-year-old Australian scrumhalf with an American passport. Bowden played for Osborne’s brother in Australia.
“He looks like he’s got some potential as a kid that looks like he’s going to develop into a really good player,” said Osborne of Bowden. “Having an American passport helps a lot as well. I’m hoping he can get a little look in here or there for some of the Eagle stuff.”
Metropolis starts the season Saturday against a new member of the Midwest, but not a new opponent, in the Kansas City Blues. Metro and KC are meeting in Des Moines, as they’ve done several times over the last few years.
“They’re a really god club and we enjoy playing them,” said Osborne. “They’ve got a really good team. They’ve got a new coach, which is probably going to change their style of play a bit, but they kind of play the same sort of rugby we do – a little more open, not so much hard-nosed stuff.”
When Metropolis and Kansas City played in the spring of 2013, Metropolis won 66-12. When they met the previous fall, the Blues won 18-12.