Major League Rugby [MLR] will welcome a new franchise from 2021 with the LA Giltinis confirmed as one of two expansion teams for next season.
And they have already acquired some expertise in the coaching ranks with veteran Australian coach Darren Coleman [head coach] and former Wallabies back-rower Stephen Hoiles [assistant coach] to join the fledgling club later this year.
The 2020 MLR season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but all indications are the competition will resume in 2021 as a 13-team, two-conference tournament.
The Giltinis, named after a cocktail based on the martini, will be owned predominantly by Loyals Rugby, a rugby investment company founded in Australia.
"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," Loyals Rugby chief executive Matt Burgess said. "It is our privilege to bring one of the world's most popular sports to the world's most prolific entertainment market."
Coleman and Hoiles may yet look to poach some leading Australian talent given the current uncertainty in the game Down Under. But MLR rules dictate that only 10 overseas players can be part of the matchday 23, which helps foster the development of local American players.
Coleman has coached across the Eastern Suburbs, Warringah and Gordon clubs in Sydney's Shute Shield competition and he has also had stints in both French and European rugby.
Hoiles, meanwhile, had been mixing commentary commitments with Fox Sports and an assistant role with the Australia Sevens program before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Hoiles enjoyed a long Super Rugby career with both the Brumbies and Waratahs, winning the 2014 title with NSW in 2014. He also played 16 Tests for Australia.
A new Dallas franchise will also join MLR in 2021, putting the total number of teams at 13 after Colorado Raptors announced their withdrawal earlier this year.
"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.