The rare chance to play together has hooked the McNulty brothers as a double-dose of Irish impact on the impressive roster of the LA Giltinis.
Today’s announcement that hooker Sean, 25, and backrower Harry, 27, are heading to Los Angeles is a major boost for Major League Rugby’s new hub.
Harry comes direct from Ireland’s Sevens program where he was a standout performer and the most capped player from 2015 until the cancellation of this year’s World Sevens Series circuit.
Younger brother Sean has already proven his value in MLR with stints at the New England Free Jacks and Rugby United New York.
Harry was born when his globetrotting parents lived in Bahrain while Sean was born in London. The siblings spent a decade of their early life in New York before being educated at Rockwell College, a renowned nursery of Irish rugby in County Tipperary, before suiting up together for the University College Dublin RFC, a club close to both players hearts.
“Harry and I have only ever played one season on the same team in Dublin for UCD RFC, so absolutely this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to play together in professional rugby,” Sean enthused.
“To be able to do that in LA is going to be pretty electric…it’s arguably the sports capital of the world with the dynasties that exist there.
“The entertainment factor is huge in a city like that and we want to bring more trophies and a buzz of our own because I’ve seen firsthand how quickly MLR is growing.
“If you start with the coaching staff and playing roster being out together, the expertise is all top drawer to make a splash in our first season.”
Sean McNulty is eligible for the USA Eagles based on the 10-year residency rule and would have been in San Diego in November as part of his first wider training squad camp but for a COVID-19 cancellation.
Harry’s sevens career for Ireland, when he often played centre or wing, links his international eligibility to that country.
The international flavour of rugby has worked in his favour because LA Giltinis coach Darren Coleman had past connections with Irish Sevens boss Anthony Eddy, another Australian.
“It was a nice handover between Anthony and Darren and I’m grateful for this opportunity in what has been a strange climate for rugby this year,” Harry said.
“In 20 years, I never wanted to regret not taking the chance to play with Sean and I get to do it at a new club with new ideas.
“I got a taste of rugby American-style when I played at the LA Sevens and the 2018 World Cup Sevens (in San Francisco).
“It was epic how the fans got around it, from tailgating parties to being super vocal, and I expect the Giltinis will do it right and in LA style for the fans too.”
Playing two club games in Dublin for Old Belvedere and on the winning SX10 team at the World Tens in Bermuda in November have been valuable in Harry’s transition back to the 15-a-side game.
Giltinis assistant coach Stephen Hoiles said the package deal for the McNultys is a win for the club.
“I’ve seen a lot of Ireland play and Harry has always been a standout for his aerial work and being one of the best lineout jumpers in world sevens,” Hoiles said.
“He’s grown into a backrower’s body during his time in sevens and I look forward to helping him play at a high level.
“Sean has come a different route through the Leinster Academy in Ireland and the MLR to put himself on the radar with the Eagles. He’s mobile with off-loading skills and will benefit from the expertise of (scrum coach) Alex Corbisiero.”
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.