The LA Giltinis have added some sharp Kiwi class by signing Auckland-based Jordan Trainor as a goalkicking fullback.
Today’s announcement continues the shrewd rearming of the backline because Trainor, 25, will arrive with a fine pedigree in rugby.
He is a former New Zealand Under-20s player, he featured in the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup win at provincial level with Auckland and played two Super Rugby games for the Blues the same year.
Giltinis backs coach Orene Ai’i was pivotal in organising the Trainor deal because of his connections with Auckland rugby.
The one-season deal in Major League Rugby will benefit Trainor, the Giltinis and Auckland because he is contracted to return to New Zealand late next year.
Trainor is eager to get good rugby under his belt after being starved of it in 2021 when a resurgence of COVID-19 in NZ’s largest city meant Auckland played just two of their scheduled 10 games.
“I played no regular footy in Auckland this year with the lockdowns so I’m very keen to get back out on the field after training for six months,” Trainor said from Auckland.
“That’s one reason and, from the outside, I also see the Giltinis as a pretty classy team with a good culture.
“They’ve scored some very good tries. I like being involved in that attacking style of game plan.
“I’ll also get the chance to pick the brains of coaches likes Adam Ashley-Cooper, who has played the game at the highest level.”
The 6’1” (1.86m), 194lb (88kg) Trainor shared in Auckland’s 2018 trophy win with Marco Fepulea’i , the prop who won a Championship for the Giltinis in 2021.
“He’s probably the only face I know so it will be good to connect with Marco,” Trainor said.
With Scotsman Glenn Bryce now retired, Trainor’s footwork and speed will be an excellent asset at fullback or as utility cover for the Giltinis backline.
Giltinis head coach Stephen Hoiles strongly believes a seasoned fullback like Trainor will be a major plus for the team in 2022.
“Jordan had this option to play between seasons with Auckland and he’s a really good pick-up for us,” Hoiles said.
“It’s good to have experience at No.15 and he’ll bring a dynamic game to the position. He’s got added versatility to help the team out in other positions too.”
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.