MLR Welcomes the LA Giltinis
The story slowly rolled out throughout the day. First the website was found. Then all the social media channels. Then Doug Coil’s article. Then Major League Rugby finally made it official on Thursday afternoon. The name of the new Los Angeles expansion club is the LA Giltinis!
The Giltinis are, of course, owned by Adam Gilchrist and Loyals Rugby, the same ownership group that purchased the Austin Herd just prior to the 2020 season and renamed them the Austin Gilgronis. The Giltinis name comes from similar origins to the Gilgronis. A Giltini is a “premium cocktail based on the martini” according to the MLR press release.
Again, much like the Gilgronis, the name is certainly an odd one. However, if you own a team and want to use it to help sell some other products that you are invested in, so be it. The downside of this may be that the MLR now has two team names that sound very similar in just a 13-team league. Then again, the CFL used to have the Roughriders and the Rough Riders, so maybe it’s not an issue.
The positive, that logo is awesome! The colours are fantastic (especially in a league where dark colours are prominent). The martini olive being a rugby ball is great! The fact that the white lines in “LA” resemble the posts, and therefore a ball sailing through the posts is even better!
Names based on companies or products are not always popular right out the gate. However, Gilgronis grew on a lot of people over the course of the season and I’m sure Giltinis will too. The colours and the logo actually have me excited to see what the rest of the branding will look like.
The MLR press release also indicated the club will operate out of Venice Beach, where they will work closely with UCLA and develop their high-performance facility. They did not officially confirm where the Giltinis would play their home games, but said they were in discussions with the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Two members of the coaching staff were also announced. The head coach will be Darren Coleman and the assistant coach will be Stephan Hoiles. Coleman has seen plenty of success in Australian rugby. Most notably, he was the head coach of Warringah Rugby Club when they won the Shute Shield in 2017.
Last season he was the head coach of Gordon RFC in the Shute Shield. Colman also has a Canadian connection. He was previously a player/coach for the Calgary Mavericks in the now defunct Canadian Rugby Super League.
Hoiles is likely the more well known of the two. Hoiles is a veteran of Super Rugby having earned 106 caps split between the Waratahs and Brumbies. Hoiles has also been capped 16 times by the Wallabies. His most recent coaching experience was with the Australian Sevens program.
The next order of business for Coleman, Hoiles, and the Giltinis will be the upcoming MLR Collegiate draft on June 13th, 2020 as they look to continue to fill out the rest of their roster. A dispersal draft has already been completed for the former Colorado Raptors players, but as of right now we don’t know who ended up on the Giltinis or the unnamed Dallas club.
One thing that I did find intriguing was, before the Giltini story blew up, many of the first few followers of Giltini social media were former Raptors including Blake Rogers and Luke White.
Obviously, following an Instagram account is a far cry from announcing that you have signed with a team (especially now that players from all teams are following the accounts). I am just speculating. However, I thought it was interesting to see a few former Raptors among those first few followers. Ultimately, we will see where everyone ended up when the roster comes out.
Now that we know the identity of the LA Giltinis, we await the identity of the Dallas franchise. Their identity should be announced sometime before the MLR Collegiate Draft.
What do you think of the branding for the LA Giltinis? Let me know @BressetteTheJet on your favourite social media platform. Be sure to follow along for all your MLR and Toronto Arrows news.