Major League Rugby to welcome LA team in 2021
Major League Rugby, the North American professional rugby union competition, will feature a new, Los Angeles-based expansion team in 2021.
The new outfit, called the LA Giltinis (named after a premium cocktail), will be MLR’s 12th team, and is in negotiations to play home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which has a capacity of 77,000.
The team will take the place of the Colorado Raptors, which withdrew from the competition last month because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Loyals Rugby, a rugby investment company based in Australia, is the Giltinis' majority owners. The firm already owns the Austin Gilgronis, an MLR side based in Texas, and also named after a cocktail.
The new team will have two Australian coaches, and a number of players from that country are also expected to join.
George Killebrew, MLR’s commissioner, said: “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.”
Matt Burgess, Loyals Rugby’s chief executive, 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.”
A Dallas-based expansion franchise is set to be named for 2021, taking the total number of teams for next season up to 13.
The third MLR season was cancelled in March, after just five weeks of games, as a result of the pandemic.
In its place, the league has created MLR 2020: Virtual, an esports competition in which teams compete against each other through the Rugby 20 game, and which is being live-streamed to fans. Sportcal
Image courtesy of majorleague.rugby