The LA Giltinis have ramped up their re-signings for 2022 with Championship-winning duo Harrison Goddard and Luke Burton returning to the backline.
Today’s announcement means two of the vital cogs in Major League Rugby’s most exciting attacking unit are back with fresh goals for the season lift-off on February 5.
Scrumhalf Goddard, 23, and valued utility Burton, 27, both played key roles in the 2021 post-season when the Giltinis beat the Utah Warriors and Rugby ATL to take the title.
The reliable Burton played at fullback and centre with equal aplomb in 2021 when his committed defence helped set the standard.
Goddard engineered one of the most important tries of the season with his blindside play for the Ryan James try that sunk the Warriors 17-13 in the Western Conference final thriller.
His slick pass and calm distribution made the Giltinis backline hum. He was a standout all season and was named in the All-MLR First XV for his impressive performances.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in LA. It turned into one of the best years and the whole team environment was really good,” Goddard said.
“I’m really excited to be back and feel this season can be even better.
“Getting to play with an experienced flyhalf like Matt Giteau taught me a lot about composure.
“One of the things I wanted most in 2021 was to play more at a professional level. Playing back-to-back games throughout the season was exactly what I needed to find my groove, grow in confidence and bark a few more orders at senior guys.”
Head coach Stephen Hoiles is delighted the duo are back on board.
“Harrison was one of the best performed players in the competition in his first season of MLR,” Hoiles said.
“There is a calming sense about him and he was definitely one of the keys to our successful 2021. He’s got a huge future so we’re very pleased he is staying in LA for another season.
“Luke was probably our most consistent and dominant defender. His versatility is a real asset.
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.