The LA Giltinis can today announce the signing of lock Luca Tani in a further move to build the club into a hub for the development of promising American players.
Tani, 25, joins the club after his potential was spotted by Giltinis skills coach Orene Ai’i when they were together at the San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Football Club.
The 6’4” (1.93m), 240lb (108kg) forward is eager to advance his game after getting his first taste of Major League Rugby in three games for the Austin Gilgronis in early 2020.
A late starter to rugby at 19, Tani’s off-loading and speed are two assets built into a mobile frame that enjoys the heavy tackling demands of the game as well.
“The high-quality coaching staff, with Orene’s connection to the club, is the big factor that drew me to the Giltinis,” Tani said.
“Orene is the one who helped get me to Texas to cover an injury at the Gilgronis and I’m super-keen to keep developing as a MLR player.
“It’s awesome to be able to go full-time in rugby from two or three practices a week to five or six.”
The Tani heritage is Italian and he has paused his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training to be a firefighter to grab his rugby chance with both hands.
“To be playing with others from around the world at a club just four hours down the freeway from where I live in Santa Cruz is pretty cool,” Tani said.
“Together, we get to set the standards of a new club.
“I played at the World Tens in Bermuda (in October-November) so I got to share some of the excitement for the Giltinis with guys like Nick Boyer, DTH (van der Merwe) and Sean and Harry McNulty, who are all heading to LA.
“Los Angeles is my kind of city to live in and I’m really looking forward to being able to spread the word about rugby through youth programs and coaching young players in the community.”
Tani was first curious about rugby when he saw a photo at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz County and asked “what sport is that?”
He joined a club and was quickly hooked before refining his game at the San Francisco Golden Gate club where Ai’i coached.
“Luca is a young Californian player who is fit, full of energy, has an off-load game and puts his head down and goes to work,” Ai’i said.
“With the skill development in the Giltinis program, Luca can become a fine lock because he’s going to have a chance to learn all the micro-skills required in his position.”
The Giltinis will kick off their MLR campaign on the weekend of March 20, 2021, with tickets being available by the end of this year.