Ruck and Roll: Giltinis Flying High with Eagles’ Call-Up

1 year ago

John Ryberg, Ryan James (above) and Luke Carty are the first proof of the LA Giltinis’ mission to launch fresh stars for USA Rugby.

The talented trio were on Tuesday all included in the 41-man Eagles squad to prepare for Tests against England (July 4) and Ireland (July 10).

It is a wonderful reflection of the club’s pacesetting style and success nurturing players because all have been picked for the first time as uncapped prospects.

LA Giltinis General Manager Adam Freier said that developing players for the Eagles and Canadian Test squads has been a key aim from the outset for the newest of the Major League Rugby clubs.

Power-running winger Ryberg (above), 29, has found his stride since May with extra involvements roaming off his wing as well as steamrolling rivals down the sideline with his muscular 235lb frame.

His 10 runs for 109m, with eight tackle busts, was a breakout performance against Old Glory DC on May 1.

James, just 21, is a nimble, pacy finisher on the wing who has set up tries with an inside pass, a kick ahead, his speed and his step as a MLR regular for the first time at the Giltinis.

Carty, 23, had his rugby upbringing in Ireland and qualifies for the Eagles through a grandmother born in New York.

His package of sharp kicking and distribution has shone in the chances he has had at flyhalf as back-up to Wallabies great Matt Giteau.

“I’m very pleased. I’m just in the initial squad so the aim is to push on to make the travelling squad (of 30) because the opportunity to play against Ireland in Dublin would be pretty cool,” Carty said.

Carty (above) gave strong credit to his time at the Giltinis for creating the chance.

“It’s also the way we push each other…no one is getting complacent (at 8-1) thinking we are already in the play-offs because this has been one of our hardest training weeks.”

The Houston-born Ryberg said his first Eagles’ call-up was “a great honour.”

“It’s been a goal for a while so I’m super-happy it’s happened. Taking every aspect of the game seriously, all the little things, has been a real benefit at the Giltinis,” Ryberg said.



Centre Watson Filikitonga (below) was one of four Giltinis to benefit from extra game time with a hit-and-run visit to Glendale last weekend.

Filikitonga, reserve halfback Cristian Rodriguez and props Ma’ake Muti and Frikkie de Beer enjoyed a game for the LA Loyals Elite against the Colorado XOs.

The Giltinis’ development squad won 33-31 over a team made up of athletes which the progressive XOs program is training up from other sports to become top rugby players.

“It was fun seeing the development squad and how motivated and inspired they are to play at the next level,” Filikitonga said.



(vs Austin Gilgronis)

Ball carries: Harrison Goddard 14, Billy Meakes 13, Angus Cottrell 11, Matt Giteau 11, Adam Ashe 11

Running Metres: DTH van der Merwe 115, Billy Meakes 109, Angus Cottrell 78

Tackles: Christian Poidevin 14, Billy Meakes 13, Matt Giteau 12, Charlie Abel 12

Tackle Busts: DTH van der Merwe 7, Billy Meakes 5, JP Smith 3, John Ryberg 3, Angus Cottrell 3

Line Breaks: DTH van der Merwe 3, Angus Cottrell 3

Ruck/Maul arrivals: Christian Poidevin 43, Nathan den Hoedt 35, Adam Ashley-Cooper 24, Angus Cottrell 24, Charlie Abel 23, Adam Ashe 22

Courtesy: Stats Perform


New Eagles training squad selection Ryan James is San Diego-born but he can thank his mum Sonya for his early appetite for the game because of her upbringing in rugby-mad New Zealand.


Nathan Den Hoedt – Lock (knee)

Mahe Vailanu – Hooker (thumb)

Glenn Bryce – Fullback (ankle)

Seru Vularika – Centre (hamstring)

Marco Fepulea’i – Prop (knee)

Jeff Peleseuma – Five-eighth (foot)

Sione Tuihalamaka – Prop (tricep)

The Giltinis play Rugby ATL in Marietta, Georgia on Saturday from 5pm (PT). The match will be broadcast live on Bally Sports SoCal in Los Angeles and can also be viewed live on The Rugby Network internationally.

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