Giltinis sign Canadian qualified prop Les Leuluaialii-Makin

8 months ago

The LA Giltinis have signed powerful Canadian qualified prop Les Leuluaialii-Makin to become a key member of the pack for the next three seasons.

Today's announcement that the Australian based Leuluaialii-Makin is headed to Los Angeles after 50 games of Super Rugby for the Brumbies shows how highly the Giltinis rate a strong scrum.

Leuluaialii-Makin, 29, is a broad-shouldered 254lb (115kg) prop at just under 5’9” (1.74m) with experience playing for professional teams in Australia and Japan. “I’m really excited about this new adventure.

"I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Giltinis and I’ve been very impressed with their overall style of play from watching on TV,” Leuluaialii-Makin said.

“I played with (Giltinis prop) Charlie Abel in the First XV at school so I have a link at the club straight away.

“I’ve been working on strength and fitness in Australia. My running and weights program from (Head of Athletic Performance) Mick Stephen mimics what the boys are doing in LA.

“I can’t tell you how hungry I am to play some good rugby because COVID-19 restrictions have kept me from playing since April.”

The Australian club rugby season in Canberra in 2021 was curtailed so Leuluaialii-Makin's last game was for the Karita Water Gush in Japan seven months ago.

His time at the Brumbies (2015-19) meant regularly scrummaging at training against top Wallabies props Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa.

“That experience was invaluable and has moulded me into the player I am today. The confidence boost from that at scrum, lineout and maul is awesome,” Leuluaialii-Makin said.

“I know the quality of the program at the Giltinis is going to be elite and fun too to keep improving my game.”

Leuluaialii-Makin is happier at tighthead prop but can play loosehead as well. That versatility will be useful with a new breed a props emerging with the Giltinis program.

Leuluaialii-Makin's double-barrelled surname was a decision he took as an adult to honour both his late father Joseph, a Canadian, and his Samoan mother Lave.

Head coach Stephen Hoiles did homework on his new prop through the Brumbies club he once played with and knows he has a hardworking recruit.

“Les is still young for a prop at 29. He has excellent experience in Super Rugby, he’s been in the Brumbies Academy pretty much since he was 12 and he just knows how to scrum,” Hoiles said.

The Giltinis kick-off their Championship defence against the Houston Sabercats in Houston on February 5 with Opening Day at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is set for Sunday, February 27 against the New England Free Jacks.

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