Major League Rugby have unveiled a new franchise to be located in Los Angeles for the 2021 season.
The new side, which is the 13th team in the league and the second to be based in California, is called the LA Giltinis, 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.
Majority owned by Australian rugby investment company Loyals Rugby, the Giltinis already have a distinct Australian flavour within their coaching set-up.
Former Top League and experienced Shute Shield coach Darren Coleman has been appointed as head coach, and he will be assisted by 16-test former Wallabies loose forward Stephen Hoiles.
Additionally, Loyals Rugby owns the Austin Gilgronis, which re-branded from the Austin Herd earlier this year to be named after “a new Texas-sized cocktail”.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming Los Angeles to MLR. LA is an important addition to the league as a major media market and the region has a lengthy rugby history embedded in their culture,” MLR commissioner George Killebrew said in a statement.
Matt Burgess, chief executive of Loyals Rugby, added: “The launch of the LA Giltinis and Major League Rugby in Los Angeles will ensure rugby takes its rightful place among the best entertainment products worldwide.
“It is our privilege to bring one of the world’s most popular sports to the world’s most prolific entertainment market.”
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.
The global outbreak forced the cancellation of the 2020 campaign after just five rounds of action, but is set to return next year with 11 teams from the United States and one from Canada.
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