The Los Angeles Rams jersey being worn at Giltinis training each week isn’t some random act because a player forgot to do his laundry.
The replica No.99 jersey has a special meaning at the Giltinis in the way it honours what Super Bowl hero Aaron Donald stands for.
The jersey is presented after each match to the Giltini who is the best all-round in contact, be it flying into breakdowns, bumping ball-carries or a fearless physical approach.
Prop Andrew Tuala is this week wearing the No.99 of the Rams defensive tackle who made the pressure play on Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in the final moments of the Super Bowl triumph in February.
Tuala will wear it for the week, wash it and have it ready for presenting after Sunday’s 4pm (PST) match at the Coliseum.
Cranking up the physicality is just what’s needed to beat 6-2 Rugby United New York in what will be one of the matches of the season in Major League Rugby.
It’s a cool addition to team culture that is so important as the glue to any top club.
Another aspect of team culture was revealed in a recent Tik Tok, showing the Forwards and Backs engaging in heated thumb wars and staring contests to decide who would gym first (and thus clock out first).
MITCHELL COMEBACK ON SONG
England’s former sevens captain Tom Mitchell is delighted he’s finally contributing to the Giltinis on the field and is hungry for more.
His first rugby in eight months after beating a hamstring injury wasn’t the only comeback milestone last Sunday because it was his first game of 15-a-side rugby in a decade.
Playing the final 31 minutes in the big 47-7 win over the Dallas Jackals got the juices flowing again at the Coliseum.
“First and foremost, it was another win and another step in the right direction for the team,” Mitchell said.
“I’ve been there before with injuries so I knew the importance of being mentally prepared. I was really pleased with the way I approached the game and getting some solid minutes.
“It’s nice to feel reassured you can do it and now think about building on it.
“I’ve been around the club a while now so it’s satisfying to contribute something apart from lip-syncing to Celine Dion at the team’s kit reveal.”
Mitchell’s front man role for the Giltinis’ 2022 jersey reveal at the Coliseum has already had more than 153,000 views on Tik Tok.
Just like the Celine Dion hit he lip-synced to, it’s all coming back to Mitchell.
(v Dallas Jackals)
Ball carries: Luke White 15, Andrew Tuala 11, Jordan Trainor 9, Ryan James 9
Running Metres Gained: Ryan James, 124, Luke White 105, Jordan Trainor 83
Defenders Beaten: Ryan James 5, John Ryberg 5
Tackles: Christian Poidevin 18, Luke White 12, Nathan Den Hoedt 10, Andrew Tuala 10, Zach Bonte 10
Ruck and Maul Arrivals: Zach Bonte 21, Charlie Abel 20, Nathan Den Hoedt 16
Season Try-scoring: Hanco Germishuys 5, Angus Cottrell 2, Will Chambers 2, Joe Taufete’e 2, Andrew Tuala 2, Ben LeSage 2
Adam Ashe – Backrower (neck)
Angus Cottrell – Backrower (knee)
Luke Carty – Flyhalf (pectoral muscle)
Matt Giteau – Flyhalf (calf)
Langilangi Haupeakui – Backrower (knee)
DTH van der Merwe – Winger (knee)
Brooklyn Hardaker – Winger (knee)
Will Chambers – Centre-wing (knee)
The Giltinis face Rugby United New York at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 4pm (PST) on Sunday. The match will be broadcast live on Bally Sports SoCal and Bally Sports West in Los Angeles. The match can also be viewed live on The Rugby Network internationally.