USA Eagles Luke Carty and Ryan James have re-signed with the LA Giltinis for 2022 to build on their impressive Championship-winning seasons.
Flyhalf Carty, 24, and sharp-stepping Californian winger James, 22, both said it was an easy decision to extend their deals in Los Angeles after breakout seasons in Major League Rugby.
Today’s announcement is also a strong endorsement for two determined players who rose from outside the starting XV to Eagles honours in a single season while within the Giltinis’ high-performance environment.
What started as a gamble became the best call of his formative career when Carty (pictured above) left Ireland to explore his American heritage with the leap to LA in 2021.
“I mean, it was an unbelievable 2021 season with the way a new club came together, the great atmosphere and the results,” Carty said.
“Personally, it was great to learn off some of the older heads like Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper who’ve been around the block.
“We’ve talked already in the pre-season about having to improve in 2022 so we’ve parked last season already. There is a lot to look forward to and the Giltinis are definitely where I want to be.”
Carty’s impressive form as Giteau’s understudy at flyhalf catapulted him to Eagles’ selection and six Tests by the end of 2021.
James (below) joined him for the final Test of the year by making his Eagles’ debut against New Zealand’s All Blacks in Washington DC in October.
“The Giltinis really opened my eyes to a different side of the game with the club’s level of professionalism and I really appreciate that,” James said.
“The specific training for my position has made be a better player and I’m definitely excited about 2022 with the staff and players we have.”
Head coach Stephen Hoiles is delighted the duo are back on board.
“To have an Eagles No.10 is rare. Luke (Carty) has an exceptional kicking game and a really good attitude around learning his position,” Hoiles said.
“We noticed the change in him when he came back from Eagles duty so his career is on the up.
“Ryan fell in our lap when Dallas delayed their start by a season. You only have to look at his two tries in the semi-final to see his impact.”
The re-signed players will take their places beside the experienced Bill Meakes and DTH van der Merwe, who are entering the second season of their two-year deals.
The club has already announced a raft of new backline signings with centre Will Chambers, the dual code star from Australia, classy Canadian Test centre Ben LeSage, Australian winger Brooklyn Hardaker and Australian scrumhalf Tas Smith all heading to LA.
The Giltinis kick-off their Championship defence against the Houston Sabercats in Houston on February 5. Opening Day at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is set for Sunday, February 27 against the New England Free Jacks.