The Californian side won 31-17 against Atlanta
Watch: LA Giltinis win Major League Rugby title
At the first time of asking, in their very first season, the LA Giltinis won the Major League Rugby (MLR) title. They defeated Rugby ATL from Atlanta, 31-17 at the LA Memorial Coliseum.
They were heavily favoured to win it, such is the calibre of star they have at their disposal – Aussie superstars Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dave Dennis were at the fore in this triumph, while Canadian try-machine DTH van der Merwe got on the scoresheet. In fact, Giteau was named player of the match, while Ashley-Cooper confirmed he will be retiring after this victory.
Giltinis were in control for most of the match and after exchanging penalties, the hosts unleashed hulking wing John Ryberg, who scored two tries. The first from a smart Giteau run to tie in the defence slap-bang in the middle of the park, and then Ryburg popped up off his wing to blast through and score. The second again came from Giteau’s savvy, as he chipped over the top for his long-time pal Ashley Cooper. As he galloped forward, that man Ryburg again appeared on the shoulder to finish things off.
Arch poacher van der Merwe also got in on the act for LA in the second half, and while Atlanta got tries through hooker Marko Janse van Rensburg and a close-range carry from substitute Ross Deacon late on, they well held out far too often by LA’s punishing, swarming defence. The Giltinis deserved their win.
As if the event didn’t have enough international star power on display, after the match DJ Steve Aoki performed a set for the crowd.
We will wait to see how LA can back up their title. With older Test stars drifting away and with head coach Darren Coleman now off to head up the Waratahs (Stephen Hoiles will step into the role next season), they have the chance to prove they can do it all again.
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