The LA Giltinis signed Mafi Seanoa for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 26-year-old prop is 6’1″ and 290lbs.
Mafi is of Samoan heritage and was born in Compton, California, which is 20 miles away from the club’s Venice Beach headquarters.
Mafi attended Dominguez High School where he played football for four years as a defensive and offensive lineman. He also was a three-time Gabriel Valley League All-Star in volleyball, the team’s MVP all three years, and an ALL-CIF selection as a senior.
Mafi is the son of Rev. Ui and Luluvita Seanoa and has four siblings Loui, Lila, Suesue, and Sii. During Spring 2012 of his senior year, he was introduced to rugby at 18, playing for South Bay Stingrays, a Division II Club team.
Tragedy also impacted the family with the loss of his mother that year. This caused him to turn down a full scholarship for football at the University of Missouri and instead attended Cerritos College where he played football with the Falcons.
Mafi also continued to play rugby with Belmont Shore RFC in the Premiership Rugby League and a year in the California Cup, as well as rugby sevens. He also spent a season playing for Seattle Rugby in the British Columbia Premier League. In 2019 he also played rugby league with the Los Angeles Mongrel.
Mafi also gained brief celebrity status at the 2017 Sunsplash 7s tournament when he steamrolled a would be Kern County tackler with the video going viral on ESPN Sports Center.
LA Giltinis Comments
“Getting to learn and play at an entirely new level is exciting because there’s far more to my game than the hype of one moment,” Seanoa said.
“Running with the ball is automatic for me. When it comes to scrummaging, I just love it because it’s uncomfortable and you have to find a way to win in there against a ton of muscle.
“I’m born and raised in this city and the first of my family to play professionally so this means a lot to me being able to play in front of my community.”
“I honestly didn’t think I’d make MLR because rugby had always been more of a therapy, a way to release the stress of life, for me,” Seanoa said.
“Now I can play my part in getting this club going.
“I’m a diehard Lakers fan and follow the Dodgers. There’s definitely room for a rugby team in LA and a successful one.
“Personally, I’m strong at visual learning. When I see, I practice, I do. To get the experience of top international coaches on scrums and playing the game is going to make a big difference to me.”
Seanoa’s development will be in the hands of scrum coach Alex Corbisiero, the former British and Irish Lions prop, skills coach Orene Ai’i and detailed Australian head coach Darren Coleman.
Seanoa will have wise heads to learn from on the field as well because the Giltinis have already announced former Test forwards Dave Dennis (Australia) and Adam Ashe (Scotland) as accomplished signings.
“Mafi will add a different dynamic to our pack as a high-impact ball-runner who I’d compare to the Wallabies’ ‘Tongan Thor’ (Taniela Tupou),” skills coach Ai’i said.
“He’s quite quick off the mark, a big man and a prop who is really going to benefit from the technique work he’ll get from our scrum coach (Corbisiero).
“He’s a product of rugby in Los Angeles and that’s important as we keep identifying and developing homegrown talent at the Giltinis.”
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.