LA Giltinis sign seasoned Super Rugby star Billy Meakes
The LA Giltinis have powered up their backline with the signing of seasoned Australian centre Billy Meakes on a two-year deal.
Today’s announcement locks in a proven performer with vast experience in Super Rugby as well as the elite level of English rugby.
Luring a player of Meakes’ calibre to Major League Rugby is further proof that the maturing competition in the United States and Canada is stepping up to rival competitions as an attractive destination for elite players.
Meakes played this year in Australia with the Melbourne Rebels before taking up a three-month deal in England where he is currently performing for London Irish.
He is a hardened seven-year professional but still with plenty of his best, hard-running and influential rugby ahead of him at just 29.
“The timing to head to Los Angeles is ideal for me and the opportunity to join something so fresh as a new club is really appealing,” Meakes said from London.
“It’s a start-up business in sport. The Giltinis are investing in people and when you get the right people you are on the way to establishing the right club culture with an open and honest group.
“Some of the best things I see are the diversity of players, from 19-year-olds to seasoned Test players, a super successful coach (Darren Coleman), the vision to do things differently and the youth development to turn rugby into a beast in LA.”
The 207lb (94kg), 6’ 2” (1.88m) Meakes broke through with English club Gloucester (2014-16) before making his mark on Super Rugby as a forceful centre with varied skills at the Western Force (2017) and Melbourne Rebels (2018-20).
Meakes revealed how significant the players role was within the foundation period of the Club and opportunity that lay ahead for all involved.
“MLR is the sleeping giant of world rugby and I think plenty of people are excited to see what things look like a few years from now.
“I see a big role for players at the Giltinis in the way the club grows the pathways into rugby and that community connection is something I want to be involved in.”
Coach Coleman is delighted to have Meakes on board as a player and as a team-builder.
“As a centre, Billy is an all-rounder because he can influence games with ball-in-hand and footwork or grab key steals at the breakdown,” Coleman said.
“He’s excited to have a footprint on the setting up of the club as part of a different rugby experience for him as a seasoned professional.”
The Giltinis will kick off their MLR campaign on the weekend of March 20, 2021, with tickets being available by the end of this year.
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