Dylan Audsley on Putting the Picture Together at San Diego
When Dylan Audsley first put pen to paper with San Diego Legion in 2018, his reputation proceeded him.
As a college player, Dylan was revered as an unflappable force in the backs, guiding Saint Mary's College to a national championship in 2017, where he scored 25 of the 30 points required to overcome Life University.
His efforts were duly recognized by being awarded the first every Rudy Scholz Award, the award given to the best men's college rugby player annually.
Just months after finishing his studies, Dylan was able to call himself an Eagle after making his debut for his nation in the 2018 Americas Rugby Championship against Argentina XV.
A ROCKY START TO 2021
So far this season, San Diego has won once and lost on three occasions. Their only win came at BOLD Stadium where Dylan and his teammates ground out a 14-11 win over Austin in Texas, just a week on from their season opening loss at the hands of Rugby United New York.
In the past two weeks, Legion has been dealt losing cards across the table from both Rugby ATL and, most recently, the Houston SaberCats. For Dylan, he believes that there have been good aspects in each of those four games, but that he, his teammates and coaches are still waiting for that complete performance.
"I think we are still gelling," The 27-year-old said. "We are still trying to put that full picture together that will eventually lead to a full team performance.
"Right now, we have had periods where we are good in defense, good in attack and I think putting it together and trying to get that bigger picture to get some wins under our belt.
"There were parts in the Austin game where we defended really well. We defended with our lives for the last 10 minutes and you might say we were lucky to win that one because Austin did skew some opportunities.
"You look at the Houston game and maybe there were some penalties, some attacking decisions, some defending decisions we didn't get right, but our attack in certain parts of that game did look like how we were practicing for it to look.
"That gives us a little excitement. It is just smoothing out the ideology right now, the team ideology of what Legion is going to look like going forward. In the end there are some things that are very exciting but going forward we are just focusing on one game at a time and trying to put that full picture together."
BEING LEGION'S SWISS ARMY KNIFE
A part of the San Diego Legion journey from the very start, Dylan has become one of his team's key performers. Playing a variety of positions for the time, it is probably fair to say that the Eagle's best position is full-back, where he has played the longest.
Being such a proficient rugby player means that when a space is opened up by injury, there is only one man for Head Coaches Zack Test and Scott Murray to turn to when the depth chart is looking particularly thin.
So far this season, Dylan has featured twice at full-back and twice at inside center. In the past, the back has even featured on the wing. Being a versatile player is nothing new to someone who played the majority of his collegiate career with Saint Mary's in the 12 and 13 jersey but could have even been seen at fly-half if injury to others hadn't pushed him deeper into the midfield.
Photo by David Becker
BACK AT HOME
After relocating to Las Vegas temporarily at the start of this 2021 season, over the last week San Diego has been settling back into life on the west coast. Speaking from the Legion High Performance Center and Headquarters in Carlsbad, CA, Dylan certainly looks at ease in familiar surroundings.
Whilst talking over Zoom, the laughter of players fills the air as they take some much-needed time outside of the California sun as preparations continue for the visit of the Utah Warriors this weekend. It is perhaps appropriate to see Eagles prop, Chris Baumann, walk past in the background when considering the challenge he will be up against this weekend.
Known for their strong forwards pack, the scrum will be a real focus point in front of the CBSSN cameras, but for Dylan his focus points are far different.
"It is exciting to be back in California," Dylan said. "But as far as Utah goes, I have played against Josh Whippy in college, obviously Mikey (Te'o) was here, I know Calvin Whiting from my collegiate days as well and they have other greatly skilled players in their backline that we will have to be wary of.
"If they get the ball in hand, we have got to be able to chop, tackle, and win the ball back if they are isolated. Their forward pack we will definitely be wary of and our forwards will be working on their specifics this week as to how we can best go at them at scrum time.
"They have notoriously always come with a very strong pack, so it will definitely be interesting in that forward battle and I am sure some of the boys are licking their lips for a challenge."
San Diego will be playing a first of four home fixtures at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA. Currently four points separate the two sides in the Western Conference and with plenty of rugby still yet to play, there is more than enough time for the Legion to make up ground on the likes of LA and Austin who head up the conference.
"How that second year ended, losing to Seattle in the final, we have always got the Championship in mind and that is always going to be our final goal," Dylan said.
"Right now, it is about taking it match by match and practice by practice. So asking; how do we get better? How do we beat the opposition that is in front of us right now?
"We want to be hitting our stride in the next couple of weeks. Maybe even this week. We are looking to definitely improve and hopefully we will be up there when the time comes.
How to Watch
Saturday's game between San Diego and Utah is being broadcast nationally at 7:00 PM ET on CBSSN and free for fans outside of the United States on The Rugby Network.Â
Written by Joe Harvey
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Major League Rugby Stories from April 15, 2021
- Dylan Audsley on Putting the Picture Together at San Diego - San Diego Legion
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