The LA Giltinis have announced the signing of Blake Rogers as a strong sign that developing home-grown talent will be a key foundation of the new Major League Rugby club.
The Giltinis will literally be building the club on the 265lb prop’s broad shoulders as a key scrum figure with invaluable experience of MLR since the 2018 kick-off.
The exciting news adds the California native to the playing roster from his home town of Colusa.
Rogers, 26, is ambitious to expand his game and make sure MLR’s first Los Angeles-based club launches with a bang after playing three seasons with the Glendale/Colorado Raptors.
“I’ve seen the growth of MLR from the very start, from the fan reaction to the speed of the game to the entry of new clubs,” Rogers said.
“The Giltinis are as professional as it gets with what they’ve laid out and the presentation from the coaching staff.
“Improving as a prop and being able to learn from some of the best coaches and players around is one of the big things that excites me.
“I’m sold on it. I can’t wait to mesh as a squad for the kick-off to the new season in March 2021.”
Rogers’ zeal to make the most of this break is obvious. He is currently hitting the weights at 5am at a gym in Colusa before getting on the tractor at 7am at his family’s rice, wheat and bean farm.
Rogers will directly benefit from October’s signing of Alex Corbisiero, who will bring all his expertise as a former British and Irish Lions prop to his new role as Giltinis’ scrum coach.
The giant prop-forward started his rugby journey at successful schoolboy team Jesuit High School in Sacramento, which won back-to-back national championships.
Blake will bring a forceful style to the club but little business to barbers around the club’s base at Venice Beach because his distinctive mullet hairstyle and beard are “part of me and I’ve had my once a year cut.”
“Blake is from a good rugby school and has valuable MLR experience. You get excited about how much he can still improve with a top scrum coach in a full-time professional program,” said former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles, the Giltinis’ assistant coach.
“He’s putting in at the gym before a hard day’s work on the tractor…that’s the sort of determination to succeed we want in our players.”
The Giltinis will kick off their MLR campaign on the weekend of March 20, 2021, with tickets being available by the end of this year.
For more info on the MLR season and how to support the LA Giltinis, head to www.giltinis.com