Wallaby legend Matt Giteau has poured cold water on a report from Australian media outlets that he is set to sign with the Los Angeles based MLR franchise – the LA Giltinis. The Sydney Morning Herald had reported that Giteau was set to be the latest high profile rugby player to give the new league a go, but Giteau has dismissed the reports as ‘paper talk’.
Friend Stephen Hoiles has been named as an assistant coach at the Giltinis, while former Japanese Top League and experienced Shute Shield coach Darren Coleman has been appointed as head coach. But despite the social links, Giteau said a move to LA was news to him and he learned about it from the parent from his child’s school.
“I got wind of that this morning actually,” Giteau told The Rugby Ruckus on a live stream on RugbyPass’ Youtube channel. “Another parent from school dropped his kid off because there was a party and he says ‘I hear you’re going to LA’.
“I said what? He said ‘it’s in the papers’.
“I’ve checked the papers this morning and it sounds like I’m signed, sealed and delivered. I think it’s just paper, well, I know it’s justs paper talk.
“I have really discussed contracts or pushed seriously with anything since I finished in Japan. The big focus was just coming back, homeschooling [his children], getting settled back in Canberra.
“I see this morning that I’m going to LA. Unless my agents done something that I don’t know about. I think it’s just paper talk.”
Giteau did however pull up short of saying he’d completely dismiss the idea. “I haven’t thought about actually going to America but I think the way my last season in Japan finished, it just left a bit of an empty feeling. I would have preferred to play a full season out, being my last year. That’s probably the only thing at the moment that [suggests] I’m not 100 per cent done with rugby.”
He also said he’s unlikely to go down the coaching route post his playing career.
“I think coaching is not an avenue for me. There’s periods in Japan, as a foreigner, where you are expected to perform well. You’re also expected to teach the Japanese and up-skill them. That side of things I was enjoying but, if I had to sit down and watch a game – you’ve got no control, you get to prepare the players as best you can, but the actual fun part, you don’t get to play; that doesn’t really pique my interest.”
The LA Giltinis made headlines in May with their playful name. The side, which is the 13th team in the league and the second to be based in California is named after a premium cocktail based on the Martini.
Based on Venice Beach, the club are in discussions to home fixtures at the 77,000-capacity Los Angeles Coliseum, the host stadium of the 2028 Olympics and the temporary home ground of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams between 2016 and 2019.
They are owned by Loyals Rugby, who owns the Austin Gilgronis, which re-branded from the Austin Herd earlier this year to be named after “a new Texas-sized cocktail”.
The Giltinis will enter the competition in place of foundation club the Colorado Raptors, who announced its withdrawal from the MLR last month amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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