Old Glory DC Announces Joshua "Josh" Syms as Head Coach

Old Glory DC Announces Joshua "Josh" Syms as Head Coach

Old Glory DC is proud to announce the appointment of Joshua (“Josh”) Syms as Head Coach. 

Syms, a New Zealand native, comes to Washington, DC, from the Hawke’s Bay Magpies, a top tier competitor of New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship (NPC). Syms was promoted to Head Coach of the Magpies in November of 2021 after a successful tenure as Assistant Coach. He recently led the team to the NPC Play-offs.


“When we embarked on the recruitment of a new head coach, we committed ourselves to meeting the world-class standard that we know it will take to succeed in MLR over the next few years,” said Old Glory Chairman Chris Dunlavey.  “This was truly a global search, in which we left no stone unturned.  Although it’s been a long journey, we’ve arrived at the end finding a unique up-and-coming talent in the world of rugby coaching. Old Glory fans should feel very excited to look forward to the Josh Syms era.”

As Assistant Coach, Syms helped lead Hawke’s Bay to their win of the Ranfurly Shield in 2020. Hawke’s Bay retained the shield until September 2022, successfully defending it 14 times. Hawkes Bay now holds the province’s third longest Ranfurly Shield reign.

“I’m really excited to be joining the Old Glory Family,” Said Syms. “I can’t wait to get into work and start creating a team that not only plays an exciting brand of rugby, but also represents our region and fans.”


Syms got his start in coaching as a secondary school teacher and coached first level cricket. After retiring from playing rugby in 2005, Syms began his rugby coaching career through coaching first fifteens and premier club rugby sides at Hasting Boys’ High School and Southland Boys’ High School.

“I am very excited about Josh joining the team,” Said Old Glory’s General Manager Marcelo Blanco. “I am confident about creating a great partnership where we can deliver a successful team on and off the pitch. Our fans should rest assured both the front office and the coaching staff are committed to delivering a great season.”


Syms will join the Old Glory side in Washington at the end of this year before the 2023 pre-season kicks off. He will be joined by his wife Ashley and his four children Archie, Luca, Sophia and Isobella.

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