The LA Giltinis have made a major signing to bolster their front-row for the next two seasons with 60-Test Canadian prop Djustice Sears-Duru joining the club.
The seasoned 27-year-old international will add vast experience as the Giltinis rebuild their front-row stocks for their Championship-defence in 2022.
Sears-Duru will arrive in December after three seasons with the Seattle Seawolves, including a starting role in their 2019 Major League Rugby Championship success.
He is a powerful 258lb (117kg) in a 6’ 1” (1.85m) frame at loosehead prop to start filling the roster spots left vacant by the departure of JP Smith and Blake Rogers.
“I’ve seen the standard lift every year I’ve been in the MLR and the Giltinis took it to another level in their first season,” Sears-Duru says.
“They had so many weapons out there when I played against them. Everything was so fast and crisp and the skills going down were impressive.
“LA will always be the team other teams want to beat in 2022. Every team will bring their best when they play the Giltinis and that’s the high level I want to experience and improve in as a player.”
Sears-Duru has packed against the All Blacks, South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England as well as 11 times against the USA to learn his craft at the international level.
Sears-Duru spoke with Canada’s Corey Thomas, Canadian legend DTH van der Merwe and former Glasgow Warriors teammate Adam Ashe, all Giltinis he’d played with, to help him decide on the leap to Los Angeles.
“I saw and heard a lot about the quality of players but also the learning in a good environment. I want to be asking a lot of questions to develop my game,” Sears-Duru says of linking with respected scrum coach Alex Corbisiero.
“Hopefully, the experience I’ve gained over the years can add to all the knowledge on the Giltinis' team.”
Head coach Stephen Hoiles says he is delighted to secure a top prop for 2022.
“Djustice is exactly the style of player we want. He has experience, he’s won a MLR title with Seattle and he’s performed in different environments around the world,” Hoiles says.
“He’s a powerful guy but we believe he has another level in him and it’s the responsibility of the club to bring that out.
“We used seven props in 2021 so having strength in this position is really important.”
The Giltinis open their Championship defence against the Houston Sabercats in Houston on February 5.