Sunday’s celebration of women’s sevens will put USA headliners Naya Tapper and Jaz Gray on the same stage as the Los Angeles Giltinis.
Playing Australia’s top-ranked talent in front of an animated crowd at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is the perfect setting.
What better way for sevens-starved Californian fans to appreciate a USA team that Aussie coach Tim Walsh predicts may win a first medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Walsh confirmed that Charlotte Caslick, the hottest player on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series circuit right now, will play a major role in Sunday’s games.
“These matches will be high quality, a great hit-out for both countries,” Walsh said.
The in-form Australians and the Americans have swept the four tournaments on the Sevens Series circuit this season.
“I rate the US team the biggest improvers since rugby sevens was first given the green light as an Olympic sport and I still think they can find 30 per cent more,” Walsh added.
“They are that athletic and potentially that good when you look at a try-scoring machine like Naya Tapper and a point-of-difference player like Jaz Gray.
“Naya has speed and power on the edge. Jaz has the great footwork.
“They are the sort of elements you look for when putting together a team and I really feel the US are a big medal threat for the 2024 Olympics.”
The gates at the Coliseum open at 2pm on Sunday with USA A v Australia A to whet the appetite.
USA v Australia is the main curtain-raiser before the 4pm Giltinis v Utah Warriors clash. The A teams will clash at half-time while the World Series line-ups of the US and Australia will go head-to-head again after full-time in the Major League Rugby game. US sevens star Ilona Maher and Aussie sisters Maddison and Teagan Levi previewed some moves on TikTok, with a little help from Giltinis Ryan James, Charlie Abel, Cristian Rodriguez and Harrison Goddard to promote the games.
The sevens spectacle is a salute to rugby’s female high-achievers in Women’s History Month.
GILTINIS DUO SHARE JERSEY HISTORY
Giltinis house-mates Sean McNulty and Christian Poidevin have uncovered a cool connection linking their families across 36 years.
When McNulty first signed on for 2021 with the Giltinis, there was a flicker of recognition from his Irish father Aidan around another name in the squad.
“When the Giltinis were first coming together, my father said, ‘Geez, that Poidevin must be the son of...,” McNulty recounted.
“He’d played for Bahrain at the 1986 Hong Kong Sevens and swapped jerseys with (Wallabies great) Simon Poidevin after a game against Australia.”
Young flanker Poidevin got his father to do a jersey search and sure enough he turned up the 1986 Bahrain jersey at his Sydney home.
“I knew dad had always kept a bag of jerseys he’d traded for over his career. He pulled out the old bag and found the Australian one,” McNulty said.
The two jerseys now hold pride of place on the wall at the Manhattan Beach apartment the pair share as teammates in Los Angeles.
McNulty posted the finds on Twitter this week.
“In 1986 Simon Poidevin (@wallabies) and Aidan McNulty (@bahrainrfc) played against each other in the @OfficialHK7s and swapped jerseys after the game. 36 years later, their sons are room mates and team mates (@Giltinis) and have found the jerseys. How good’s footy!” McNulty said.
How good is footy indeed.
In 1986 Simon Poidevin (@wallabies) and Aidan McNulty (@bahrainrfc) played against each other in the @OfficialHK7s and swapped jerseys after the game. 36 years later, their sons are room mates and team mates (@Giltinis) and have found the jerseys. How good’s footy! pic.twitter.com/M6s2Hm0cUG— Sean McNulty (@seanmcnulty5) March 8, 2022
The Giltinis were special guests at the LA Clippers game against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday Night. Crypto.com Center rose to their feet and cheered on the 2021 MLR Champions as Matt Giteau and Billy Meakes tossed T-shirts into the crowd.
Fans approached players for pictures after spotting them (and occasionally their dance moves) on the big screen. Birthday Boy Andrew Tuala had an especially memorable night after receiving a birthday shout-out on the jumbotron and from his teammates. The unique Giltinis basketball jersey training singlet proved to be a perfect fit for the occasion, prompting several inquiries from basketball fans, including Clippers mascot Chuck the Condor.
Perhaps a Giltinis - Clippers jersey swap is in order.
(v Austin Gilgronis)
Ball carries: Billy Meakes 17, Dave Dennis 13
Running Metres Gained: Billy Meakes 143, Jordan Trainor 77, Dave Dennis 72
Defenders Beaten: Billy Meakes 5
Tackles: Christian Poidevin 14, Harrison Goddard 14, Angus Cottrell 12
Ruck and Maul Arrivals: Nathan Den Hoedt 31, Corey Thomas 20, Angus Cottrell 17, Billy Meakes 16
Season Try-scoring: Hanco Germishuys 3
Lindsey Stevens - Hooker (knee)
Luke Carty – Flyhalf (pectoral muscle)
Matt Giteau – Flyhalf (calf)
Langilangi Haupeakui – Backrower (knee)
DTH van der Merwe – Winger (knee)
Tom Mitchell – Fullback (hamstring)
Brooklyn Hardaker – Winger (knee)
The Giltinis face the Utah Warriors at the 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.