Giltinis Swoop on USA Eagle Joe Taufete’e

6 months ago

The prized signing of leading USA Eagle Joe Taufete’e has added an explosive new factor to the LA Giltinis pack.

Taufete’e, 29, joins the Giltinis with immediate effect after flying into Los Angeles this week from French club Lyon.

The 36-Test hooker was granted a release by Lyon for the birth of his third child in California.

For the Giltinis, it is coup. Taufete’e has earned a dynamic reputation for his forward play and a record-breaking 21 Test tries as a front-rower.

The 6’0” (1.83m), 267lb (121kg) force is one of the Eagles’ most highly-decorated players having been a nomination for World Rugby Player of the Year in 2019.

He has played at two Rugby World Cups and has forged a respected career with English club Worcester Warriors and Lyon since late 2016.

“I have watched the MLR and the Giltinis from France, and being from Long Beach I am passionate about Rugby in Los Angeles and they have done a great job in supporting the game and the growth USA Rugby,” said Taufete’e.

“For my family and I to be back from Europe and to play in front of our friends and families is special to us, and the Club is very big on family, everything the club has done for me to date has been first class - They even had toys and candy for our kids.”

“As a club, we are thrilled to welcome Joe. He learnt his rugby at Belmont Shore Rugby Club in Long Beach and his reputation in Europe is well deserved,” Giltinis head coach Stephen Hoiles said.


“We’ve had several conversations with Joe over the past 18 months and he has always been committed in Europe. This has all come together because of his wanting to be back in California for his family situation.”

His powerful charges in general play and close to the tryline have become his signature beyond his regular work as a top international hooker.

Taufete’e will add great depth to the Giltinis’ front-row stocks with the added bonus he has also played prop at Test level as recently as last year.

He adds strength at hooker on the Giltinis’ roster beside Andrew Tuala, Sean McNulty and Lindsey Stevens, who made his comeback from major knee surgery with the Giltinis Academy last weekend.

Taufete’e played his earliest rugby in the Under-19s for Belmont Shore in 2011 while studying at Santa Ana Community College.

He is new marquee face for Major League Rugby, having last played for an American professional club in 2016 for the San Diego Breakers in the short-lived PRO Rugby competition.

The Giltinis face the Utah Warriors at the Coliseum at 4pm (PST) on Sunday. The USA and Australian women’s rugby sevens teams will play before, at half-time and after the match.

The MLR match will be broadcast live on Bally Sports SoCal and Bally Sports West in Los Angeles. The match can also be viewed live on The Rugby Network internationally.

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