The LA Giltinis are delighted to announce the signing of Australian lock Nathan Den Hoedt to bolster a forward pack ready to shake up Major League Rugby.
Den Hoedt’s drive to make the most of the biggest break of his career and put rugby on the map in a big way in Los Angeles perfectly fit the club’s goals.
The 23-year-old lock is a hard-toiling 251lb (114kg) in a 6 foot 6 inch (1.99m) frame with four years of experience in Australia’s top club competitions with Sunnybank (2017-18) and Randwick (2019-20).
Higher level action in Australia’s National Rugby Championship (2018-19) and with the Emerging NSW Waratahs has made the Giltinis an ideal next step.
He will also inject extra leadership at the Giltinis after this season being a captain of Randwick, the famous club which moulded the likes of Ken Catchpole, Nick Shehadie and Simon Poidevin into captains of the Wallabies.
“Signing up for my first full-time professional gig in rugby is super-exciting just as LA is itself. Both are massive attractions in my decision,” Den Hoedt said.
“Being part of all the ‘firsts’ is a big drawcard…first club in LA, first team, first home game, first win and on it goes.
“The club has told the players how inclusive we want to be fan-wise and I think that’s a really strong point to connect with the big rugby community already active in LA.”
The mobile Den Hoedt, who has carried his “Moose” nickname since school days, is a practised lineout caller and has added to his game as a strong ball-carrier.
Den Hoedt has been involved in the Giltinis’ online training sessions in Sydney, which has his competitive juices flowing on playing the MLR in 2021.
“I see the step up to a professional program already with the strength-and-conditioning program, the interaction with coaches and the Zoom calls connecting our players from around the world,” Den Hoedt said.
“There’s so much experience in the playing group being assembled that this will be a massive learning opportunity for me as a young bloke of 23.
“It’s rare you get to play with players of so many different nationalities and know that the club is capable of making a big mark right from the start.”
Giltinis assistant coach Stephen Hoiles is a former Randwick player himself and was impressed with all he saw of Den Hoedt in 2020.
“I watched him play a lot this year and I feel a player with his good attitude, workrate and leadership qualities will make a lot of progress in a professional program,” Hoiles said.
“He’s normally on the tools (as a plumber) all week so he’s going to appreciate all the extra time he can now put into taking his rugby to another level.”
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.