Head coach Stephen Hoiles is certain the LA Giltinis’ 2022 squad is hungry for fresh successes to build on the club’s Championship legacy. Hoiles today unveiled the club’s finalised roster for 2022 with 14 new signings and a confident core of returning stars from last year’s title-winning team.
Hoiles made it clear that the February 5 kick-off to the Major League Rugby season is an exciting shot at writing new history.
“We have to keep evolving. What worked last year won’t be good enough in 2022,” said Hoiles, the former Wallaby forward.
“Other teams will put a target on us but that’s a challenge we welcome."
“It would be silly to rub the whiteboard clean and start again. We learnt so much as a club in our first season in terms of creating the right environment for hard work and success and the players to be themselves at the same time."
“We have deliberately recruited good leaders, level-headed experience and an exciting mix of young talent in our new players to sustain the success of the Giltinis."
“It’s a great compliment to what the Giltinis are creating in Los Angeles that (Wallabies great) Matt Giteau has returned for another season.”
Flyhalf Giteau (above), scrumhalf Harrison Goddard, lock Dave Dennis, centre Billy Meakes and prop Charlie Abel are all back on deck as the quality spine to the team.
The Giltinis are in full training for their MLR opener against the Houston Sabercats in Houston on February 5.
The 31-17 triumph over Rugby ATL in the 2021 Championship final has turned the Giltinis into a magnet for top internationals. Hard-edged backrower Hanco Germishuys (USA Eagles), classy centre Ben LeSage (Canada) and 60-Test prop Djustice Sears-Duru (Canada) are among the club’s top signings.
Australia’s former rugby league international Will Chambers, a centre, and England’s two-time Olympic sevens weapon Tom Mitchell are backline signings with experience, polish and punch. Livewire Australian winger Brooklyn Hardaker, USA-qualified scrumhalf Tas Smith, Kiwi fullback Jordan Trainor and elusive American attacker D’Montae Noble are also new faces to enliven the backline.
Up front, the Giltinis have been building their vital front-row depth with Canada-qualified prop Les Leuluaialii-Makin, Sears-Duru, and Australian hooker-prop Andrew Tuala.
Giltinis General Manager Adam Freier applauded the work of the club’s coaches and staff to assemble a squad capable of fresh milestones in 2022.
“Firstly, I would like to congratulate Coach Hoiles and his team of coaches and staff for the work they have put in to give these players another opportunity to play in the MLR in this country’s sporting capital of Los Angeles,” Freier said.
“We have had our fair share of challenges due to the pandemic, travel and immigration and they have been incredibly resilient in assembling this group.
“Although last year will always be respected and was celebrated, this is 2022.
“With our playing roster, we have a philosophy of ensuring the mix is right in ‘buying on the way up’ and blending that with experience and players who are looking to give back to the game.
“That certainly worked for us last season. We have continued in that direction but have also evolved with a greater focus on North American talent in the squad.
“Last year, we were proud to celebrate three debuts at Test level for the USA Eagles and Canada with Luke Carty, Ryan James and Corey Thomas. Adam Channel also made his debut for the USA Sevens while Billy Meakes returned to the Australian Sevens program.
“I would also like to thank all of the players and their families for their faith and patience in making the journey to LA. It hasn’t been easy for some but it does show the type of character and class many clubs and players have around the MLR in 2022.
“All teams will be stepping it up another level this season and the fans are in for a real treat in 2022. It has never been a better time to sign up and become a season ticket member at the Giltinis. Hand on heart, it is the best value sports ticket in town.”
Opening Day at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is set for Sunday, February 27 against the New England Free Jacks.
2022 LA GILTINIS SQUAD
Tom Mitchell (ENG)
Jordan Trainor (NZ)
DTH Van Der Merwe (CAN)
John Ryberg (USA)
Ryan James (USA)
Brooklyn Hardaker (AUS)
Adam Channel (USA)
D’Montae Noble (USA)
Will Chambers (AUS)
Ben LeSage (CAN)
Billy Meakes (AUS)
Luke Burton (AUS)
Matt Giteau (AUS)
Luke Carty (USA)
Harrison Goddard (AUS)
Tas Smith (USA)
Cristian Rodriguez (USA)
Angus Cottrell (AUS)
Adam Ashe (SCOT)
Langilangi Haupeakui (USA)
Christian Poidevin (AUS)
Cyrille Cama (USA)
Hanco Germishuys (USA)
Dave Dennis (AUS)
Corey Thomas (CAN)
Nathan Den Hoedt (AUS)
Luke White (AUS)
Charlie Abel (AUS)
Djustice Sears-Duru (CAN)
Marco Fepulea'i (NZ)
Les Leuluaialii-Makin (CAN)
Andrew Tuala (AUS)
Lindsey Stevens (CAN)
Sean McNulty (USA )
INS: Tom Mitchell, Jordan Trainor, Brooklyn Hardaker, D’Montae Noble, Will Chambers, Ben LeSage, Tas Smith, Hanco Germishuys, Djustice Sears-Duru, Les Leuluaialii-Makin, Andrew Tuala
OUTS: Glenn Bryce, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Watson Filikitonga, Serupepeli Vularika, Jonetani Vasurakuta, Dylan James, Sean O’Brien, Ben Weischedel, Harry McNulty, Shawn Clark, Pago Haini, Blake Rogers, Frikkie de Beer, JP Smith, Ma’ake Muti, Mafi Seanoa