The LA Giltinis have signed 290lb of wrecking ball potential with home-grown prop Mafi Seanoa as the latest exciting addition to the Major League Rugby club’s playing roster.
The 25-year-old front-rower is a powerful statement of the new club’s ambition to build strongly on the pillars of American talent from the Los Angeles area.
Seanoa grew up and still lives at Compton just 20 minutes away from the club’s Venice Beach headquarters.
Signing the powerhouse of Samoan heritage creates the ideal pathway to build on the bang heard all over USA Rugby in 2017 when a social media clip of his explosive running went viral.
Steamrolling one would-be tackler for Belmont Shore Rugby Club at a local sevens tournament sent up a flare which he now gets to turn into a career.
“Getting to learn and play at an entirely new level is exciting because there’s far more to my game than the hype of one moment,” Seanoa said.
“Running with the ball is automatic for me. When it comes to scrummaging, I just love it because it’s uncomfortable and you have to find a way to win in there against a ton of muscle.
“I’m born and raised in this city and the first of my family to play professionally so this means a lot to me being able to play in front of my community.”
Seanoa is barely five years into the sport. Exploring his own potential and helping to put the Giltinis on the sporting map in LA are both big driving forces.
“I honestly didn’t think I’d make MLR because rugby had always been more of a therapy, a way to release the stress of life, for me,” Seanoa said.
“Now I can play my part in getting this club going.
“I’m a diehard Lakers fan and follow the Dodgers. There’s definitely room for a rugby team in LA and a successful one.
“Personally, I’m strong at visual learning. When I see, I practice, I do. To get the experience of top international coaches on scrums and playing the game is going to make a big difference to me.”
Seanoa’s development will be in the hands of scrum coach Alex Corbisiero, the former British and Irish Lions prop, skills coach Orene Ai’i and detailed Australian head coach Darren Coleman.
Seanoa will have wise heads to learn from on the field as well because the Giltinis have already announced former Test forwards Dave Dennis (Australia) and Adam Ashe (Scotland) as accomplished signings.
“Mafi will add a different dynamic to our pack as a high-impact ball-runner who I’d compare to the Wallabies’ ‘Tongan Thor’ (Taniela Tupou),” skills coach Ai’i said.
“He’s quite quick off mark, a big man and a prop who is really going to benefit from the technique work he’ll get from our scrum coach (Corbisiero).
“He’s a product of rugby in Los Angeles and that’s important as we keep identifying and developing home grown talent at the Giltinis.”
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.