Former Wallabies star Matt Giteau has been named as the latest signing of Major League Rugby side the LA Giltinis, joining former teammate and good friend Adam Ashley-Cooper at the club.
Giteau, a three-time World Cup star, signed with the side on a one-year deal extending his career after his final season for Suntory Sungoliath ended suddenly in March once Japan's 2020 Top League season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
"To be honest, I felt a bit unfulfilled with the way things ended in Japan and it made me think that just retiring because of 'age' was selling myself a bit short," Giteau said of his decision to continue playing.
"Like everyone, I felt that moment this year when sport was taken away (because of the pandemic) so I got excited with the LA offer and realised you are a long time retired.
"Starting a franchise afresh, the history I have with certain players and staff at the Giltinis and the family feel to this adventure were all big things that persuaded me. "And I get to live in one of the coolest cities in the world and experience this with my kids at an age when they'll remember it."
A three time Heineken Cup winner and earning 103 Test caps for the Wallabies, Giteau is one of the biggest recruits to sign in the MLR competition and brings plenty of experience to the Giltinis.
He joins a long list of Australians who have joined the club, including head coach Darren Coleman and assistant coach Stephen Hoiles.
"I still love to play and compete. What will give me just as much satisfaction is helping to create the identity of the Giltinis and developing the potential in some excellent American and international youngsters for the club's future," Giteau said.
"I've had a lot of opportunities to speak to (head coach) Darren Coleman about the values he holds dear and how important it is to nurture local American and Canadian players and get them into national teams.
"I feel I know what successful clubs look like...you need strong leaders and you need to establish what you stand for early on and off the field.
"I'm excited. I know how big sport is in the United States in general and I see Major League Rugby having a real crack to turn the USA into a dominant rugby nation.
"The Giltinis will be out in the LA rugby community to get our fans fully involved."
Coleman said Giteau's signing with the side is a big win for the club, bringing plenty of talent and experience.
"The Giteau name is world famous and he brings multiple layers to the club in marketability, mentoring for our younger players and an amazing trophy record as a winner," Coleman said.
"He's renowned as always being fiercely competitive as a player and trainer and I'm really excited he's coming to Los Angeles with a fire in his belly to help make the club successful.
"He's going to be an excellent mentor for young No.10s like Luke Burton, Luke Carty and Jeff Peleseuma in our squad."