Cristian Rodriguez is certainly doing his bit to pump up crowd numbers now the LA Giltinis have welcomed back fans to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
More than 30 family and friends converged on the Coliseum to support the quick-stepping utility back at last weekend’s game against San Diego Legion.
It was a turnout fit for a home-grown son of Hawaiian Gardens in LA County just 23 miles from the Coliseum.
For some family members it was the first time they had seen him play in five years because he studied out-of-state at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.
“There was a real sense of enjoyment for me,” said Rodriguez, pictured (above) snapping a selfie with brother Robert (black T-shirt) and friend David Soto.
“I had my parents in the grandstand, family and friends. It was the first time anyone had come to see me play professionally….and at the Coliseum. It made it that much more special.”
Rodriguez’s cameos off the bench, this time at fullback and scrumhalf against the Legion, are building confidence.
“Skill-wise it’s a whole different level but as much as anything I’m enjoying that camaraderie of being a part of a team again after being without it for 12 months because of COVID,” Rodriguez said.
Standout flanker Christian Poidevin lived his whole life in Sydney just minutes from Sydney’s Coogee Beach without ever learning how to surf.
He’s flown all the way to Los Angeles to link with the Giltinis to finally find boardriding “lessons” are compulsory.
That’s the decree of teammates who insist it’s time to learn.
“I get abuse for not being able to surf every day so I guess it’s time to get a cheap board,” Poidevin said.
Poidevin had a huge game in the 45-17 win over the Legion, including the finish to the best try of last weekend’s six games in Major League Rugby.
The set play with a five-pass interchange off a lineout worked perfectly, scrumhalf Harrison Goddard ran a loop, DTH van Merwe flew in off the blind wing, to take a Luke Carty inside ball, and then delivered one of his own to put Poidevin over for the try.
(vs San Diego Legion)
Ball carries: Christian Poidevin 10, Luke Burton 9, Angus Cottrell 7
Running Metres: DTH van der Merwe 93, Christian Poidevin 78, Glenn Bryce 70
Tackles: Charlie Abel 17, Christian Poidevin 12, Dave Dennis 12
Tackle Busts: DTH van der Merwe 4, Nathan Den Hoedt 4
Line Breaks: DTH van der Merwe 3, Glenn Bryce 2
Ruck/Maul arrivals: Christian Poidevin 25, Nathan Den Hoedt 22
Goalkicking: Luke Burton 60% (3-from-5)
Top Try-scorers (season): Harrison Goddard 6, Angus Cottrell 6, DTH van de Merwe 5
Saturday’s appealing SoCal Classic double-header at the Coliseum is great value… two MLR games for the price of one!
San Diego will meet the New England Free Jacks at 2:30pm before the Giltinis’ match against Old Glory DC at 6pm (PT).
For tickets, head to www.giltinis.com/tickets
Billy Meakes – Centre (fractured cheekbone)
Harry McNulty – Flanker (broken hand)
Pago Haini – Backrower (quadricep)
Marco Fepulea’i – Prop (knee)
Jeff Peleseuma – Five-eighth (foot)
Sione Tuihalamaka – Prop (tricep)
The Giltinis-Old Glory DC match will be broadcast live on Bally Sports SoCal in Los Angeles from 6pm (PT) on Saturday and can also be viewed live on The Rugby Network internationally.