Old Glory has announced the signing of Gradyn Bowd, a flyhalf who plays for the Canadian national team. His signing was actually an open secret after Rugby Canada released the roster for their upcoming matches, which listed Bowd's club as Old Glory.
Bowd's club experience is almost entirely at an amateur level. He played for the Red Deer Titans in Alberta starting at 14 and was picked for the Canada u20 team. He also went to play for an Australian development club, the Sunnybrook Colts, before heading to the University of Victoria, one of the best rugby programs in Canada. He captained the UVic Vikings for four years, playing in the BC Premiership. He then took his chances in Spain, playing for the semi-pro team Eibar in the Division Honours B. Most recently, he has been playing for Castaway Wanderers, another BC Premiership side that has featured other MLR talent, including OGDC's own Jake Ilnicki.
Bowd has also been an off-and-on selection for the Canadian national team. He first debuted on the internationals stage at 22, starting at 10 in a win over Uruguay in 2016. He accumulated 10 test caps in his career, with the opportunity to earn more in the coming weeks.
With Bowd's signing, it would seem that Old Glory is actually going to have a proper backup flyhalf for the first time. They've had other players listed in the position, but none have played that much at ten: Mike Dabulas and Owen Sheehy transitioned to fullback full time while Tyler Myles never actually played for the club before being dropped last year.
Of course, the starting spot is likely already taken. Tito Diaz Bonilla is almost certain to take the 10 jersey, assuming he stays injury-free, so Bowd will likely be relegated to a backup spot. It may even be tough for him to take a spot on the bench, unless he's capable of covering other positions. The reason Old Glory has managed pretty well without a proper backup in the past is that flyhalfs tend to play a full 80 minutes, and they don't tend to get injured. That makes it difficult to develop new talent at the position or retain talent stuck behind the starter.
Bowd's signing is one of the more interesting of the offseason. He defies easy categorization, in part because there's not much information out there about him. He has a fair amount of international experience, but has also never played in a fully professional setup. He's not a young gun, but he also isn't a long-time club guy at a high level. It will be interesting to see what he makes of this opportunity, and what the opportunity makes of him.
Curious who has been signed and who is leaving? Check out our 2023 Signings Tracker for all the updates!