Inside the Scrum: Episode 1

Major League Rugby’s docuseries on the 2021 Austin Gilgronis is a six part weekly serial on FS2 and available to stream on The Rugby Network after a 24 hour delay. We’ll be providing a weekly recap of our key takeaways.

The first episode of Major League Rugby’s Inside the Scrum came and went like many television pilots; it introduced main characters, provided some background, and sat up the story to come.

The Good

While there will likely be some changes throughout the six season series, we found ourselves with five major characters:

  • Sam Harris – Of course the head coach will be a key piece of the program.
  • Issac Ross – The former All Blacks lock had a major impact on the Austin pack.
  • Jamie Mackintosh – Another Kiwi, he’s poised to be a vocal leader in this tale.
  • Connor Mooneyham – Perhaps the most obvious candidate for exposure. A likable guy that’s also the league’s first collegiate draft pick and a potential face of the league.
  • Roderick Waters – The wing known for clinical finishes was the last major player.

The Bad

The first episode covered the initial two game losing streak that started the Gilgronis year, then looked at the subsequent four wins entering the first bye. In a sixteen game season, seeing six games fly by in the first installment leaves only ten for the back five. It might be that reduced pandemic issues later in the season allowed for more access and footage, but it sets up a concern about the series’s pacing.

The series also made a choice to touch on the death of Mac Mason’s grandfather early in the year. It should’ve been a touching victory as he kicked the winning penalty with the clock in the red. In reality, it came off a bit flat. By not introducing him until the announcement, it lacked the emotional punch it could’ve had. Trying to shoehorn such a heavy story into a packed pilot was a decision that just didn’t land. While we’ll have to see how the series develops, it would’ve been better to simply save that storyline for the next episode when it and Mason could’ve been more established.

The Result

Pilots are a challenge. It’s good to see such a strong cast of characters, and the production value is surprisingly high. There’s every reason to believe in the shows potential at this point.

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