Many of the LA Giltinis come from a background of fierce local rivalries in rugby and jointly taking aim at the San Diego Legion will hopefully become another.
Saturday’s clash (6pm PT) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is one of the new club’s biggest milestones with fans finally allowed back into the grandstands.
For Giltinis’ players from all corners of the rugby map, “rivalry” games mean that bit more.
Backline stars Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper were closely bonded with the Wallabies and most often lined up together for the ACT Brumbies against the NSW Waratahs in Australia’s annual grudge match in Super Rugby.
It was mate against mate and they loved the extra edge and feistiness to those contests.
Likewise, Scottish duo Adam Ashe and Glenn Bryce. They have a whole different perspective on Scotland vs England passion compared to scrum coach Alex Corbisiero, a 20-Test prop for England.
Winger DTH van der Merwe represented Canada 61 times in Tests and no contest was more passionate than the 12 occasions he faced the USA Eagles.
A close rivalry on the scoreboard is even better. Van der Merwe won six times, lost five and played a draw in Canada vs USA Tests from Charleston to Vancouver and Sacramento to Edmonton.
Closer to home, Giltinis winger Ryan James is San Diego-born and knows exactly the extra edge to expect on Saturday.
“It’s always a battle of the West Coast between Los Angeles and San Diego to see who is best in the south-west,” James said.
“When I was coming up in rugby for the Aztec Warriors in San Diego, we had a rivalry with South Bay Spartans from LA.”
James, 21, has relished the chance to fast-track his rugby intellect, often surrounded by players with nearly 300 Test caps in the backline.
“I’m learning something new every day with the experience and knowledge I’m playing alongside,” James said.
“It might be working on the defensive shape with Adam Ashley-Cooper or just the mentality of running through the line in support expecting line breaks.”
James is pumped that fans will get to see what the 4-0 Giltinis are all about in person.
“All the boys are super-excited to play in front of our fanbase and experience the energy,” James said.
Join us at the Coliseum on Saturday for your first live look at LA’s first professional rugby team.
Individual game tickets at $20 / $35 / $50 (plus service fees) make a Giltinis’ home game the most affordable ticket in sports in Los Angeles.