April 14, 2021

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Why Wallabies legends now play for the Giltinis

3 min read
It may sound like an early April Fools joke, but we swear it's true. Wallabies...

It may sound like an early April Fools joke, but we swear it's true.

Wallabies legends Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper now play for the LA Giltinis, a professional rugby club named after a "premium cocktail based on a Martini" and owned by Adam Gilchrist.

Only it's not the cricket great, but the Australian co-owner of the F45 fitness franchise who answers to the same name.

Confused?

You should be, but thankfully Stan Sport's Rugby Heaven tracked down Giltinis assistant coach Stephen Hoiles on Tuesday night to shed some light on this quirky Major League Rugby expansion team.

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https://twitter.com/usmlr/status/1369074956357693440?s=20

The former Wallabies backrower is part of an Australian armada at the club, which is coached by Darren Coleman, captained by Dave Dennis, has Adam Freier as its general manager and also features Angus Cottrell, Bill Meakes, Luke Burton, Harrison Goddard, Mahe Vailanu, Charlie Abel, JP Smith, Ruan Smith, Nathan Den Hoedt, Luke White, Christian Poidevin and Corey Thomas.

"It's been a busy 10 months since we decided we'd take on this opportunity to head over to the States and it's been a decent battle getting our squad together," Hoiles said.

"Our biggest and last announcement was last week, which was Matt Giteau and it drew plenty of headlines around the world in rugby.

"It's been really positive for our side.

"We're about five days away from kick-off now, so pretty excited."

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https://twitter.com/Giltinis/status/1364950789324701698?s=20https://twitter.com/AdamCoopy/status/1365095515373768708?s=20

It also puts Hoiles in the interesting position of now coaching big-time players who were long-time teammates and friends, including Giteau, Ashley-Cooper and Dennis.

He confided to Rugby Heaven's Drew Mitchell that the tables had well and truly turned.

"You were among many of those teams Drew and we spent a large amount of time taking the piss out of coaches while we were players," Hoiles said.

"So I'm assuming that's still going on behind my back and that's called karma.

"But those guys have been exceptional in terms of their professionalism.

"Two hours ago we were sitting in the team room, coming up with our team song and Adam Ashley-Cooper's front and centre, writing lyrics with the help of our scrum coach Alex Corbisiero who likes a bit of a rap here and there.

"They're just so invested in the team.

https://twitter.com/drew_mitchell/status/1369036539414515712?s=20

"It's a new experience for all of us, to come over and be involved in a start-up franchise and we're thriving off the energy of the older blokes and the younger guys are giving just as much energy."

The Giltinis' home stadium is the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum although COVID-19 complications have meant the team has spent pre-season in Maui and Oxnard.

Their first game is against the equally well named New England Free Jacks and Hoiles expected Test centurions Giteau and Ashley-Cooper to deliver, despite being in the twilight of their illustrious careers.

"I know there's a perception out there that these guys are coming over here to cash in and finish off their career and what-not, but they're still ultra-competitive," Hoiles said.

"Those guys are the ones driving standards.

"They want to succeed, they want to finish their careers on a high and they want to be proud of something at a start-up club.

"Them along with everyone else are working really hard to make sure this is successful."

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