The international pulling power of the LA Giltinis has hooked Scotland’s classy backrower Adam Ashe as a coup signing for Major League Rugby.
The announcement magnifies Los Angeles as a hot new rugby destination with Ashe the second Test forward unveiled by the Giltinis this passed week, alongside former Wallaby Dave Dennis (Australia).
Ashe said he had signed for the Giltinis ahead of nibbles from Japanese and English teams because of “the vision, freshness and excitement” of a new rugby frontier.
Ashe, 27, will add dynamism, running power and top-tier experience to the pack, having played six Tests for Scotland in 2014-15 the dynamic forward feels his best football is ahead of him in MLR.
“I had eight good years with Glasgow Warriors and the ‘where do I go next?’ question was a big one,” the 240lb (110kg) Ashe said from Glasgow.
“I heard about the vision of the franchise, the quality players the club is attracting, the top group of coaches and the people behind the scenes.
“I’m drawn to play for a team in contention to win something and that excites me too.
“And I’m not lying when I say living in LA is going to be a cool experience because traveling to different places and meeting new people is a real attraction with rugby.”
Adam returned to full training in early November after surgery to repair a lingering shoulder issue which was meant to be operated on at the beginning of the year but was moved to a late date due to COVID-19.
Ashe’s only previous experience of rugby in the US was as a naïve 18-year-old with the Scotland team at the Las Vegas Sevens in 2012.
“I was not at an age to enjoy much of the after-match activities but it was a cool atmosphere in Vegas that left me feeling American fans are pretty crazy for the right type of rugby,” Ashe said.
“I enjoy speed to the game, playing an expansive style and getting in the wide channels to run.
“I feel there’s going to be far more of that for the fans under the sun in California than in cold, ropey Scottish weather.
“I’ll arrive in LA like a ghost so I’ll need a few days in the sun to get any sort of tan.”
The cosmopolitan mix of nationalities to the Giltinis’ player roster is a positive, according to Ashe.
“I know that means different rugby ideas to learn from and cultures to enjoy which is great for me because I’m a people person who really enjoys the team environment,” Ashe said.
“I’m also very excited about the American players who are signing. I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a couple of them before.
“They are going to contribute a lot to this team and similarly to myself. I think there are going to be lots of positives for them in developing their own games around international players and coaches.”
Giltinis head coach Darren Coleman is excited by the qualities that Ashe will bring to the pack.
“Adam Ashe is a highly-credentialled professional who has been capped for his Tier One country,” Coleman said.
“He came highly recommended to me, as a player with his best footy in front of him, through Matt Taylor, Scotland’s former defensive coach and now on the Wallabies’ staff.
“Adam is all I like in a backrower…rangy, with footwork, offloading skills and good athleticism.
“He’ll be a real handful down the wide channels as a runner and will contribute at lineout time too.
“We are very excited to have a player of his calibre in our squad.”
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.