The LA Giltinis have signed American-qualified flanker Sean O’Brien on a short-term contract to help the club through a shortage of backrowers.
The Pittsburgh-born O’Brien, 20, has lived most of his life in Ireland. He is freshly arrived in Los Angeles and has been immediately selected on the bench for Sunday’s clash against the Seattle Seawolves.
The 6’3” (1.9m), 227lb (103kg) youngster may carry the same name as the famous Irish backrower who played 61 Tests but he is now looking to make his own mark in the US for 2021.
He will add fresh sting to the squad after making his debut for Leinster this year during his grooming with the top Irish province’s Academy.
With a significant drain on backrow stocks at the Giltinis, it is a timely signing for head coach Darren Coleman.
It will help cover for the loss of Harry McNulty, who was released for the remainder of the season to play for Ireland’s sevens’ side which has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Backrow regulars Christian Poidevin and Langilangi Haupeakui are also both on the sidelines through injury.
Coleman is upbeat about O’Brien, who is in the team after just two training runs.
“I’m pleased we have Sean on board. He is a hybrid backrow-lock type, a real rawboned forward who is good at the contact points, and will help our backrow depth,” Coleman said.
“He has had to learn things pretty quickly but, for a disrupted season like we have had in 2021, this is not unusual for players.
“I know Luke Carty, our flyhalf, is happy to see Sean because there is now someone who needs sunscreen more than he does.”
The Giltinis play the Seattle Seawolves at Starfire Stadium, outside Seattle, on Sunday from 7pm (PT). The match will be broadcast live on Bally Sports SoCal in Los Angeles and can also be viewed live on The Rugby Network internationally.
Join the Giltinis on the Fourth of July as they take on NOLA Gold, with $4 tickets! Celebrate the Fourth of July with us and all of your friends with this special discounted ticket pricing (offer valid until 6/30/2021).