The LA Giltinis signed Australian Corey Thomas for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 26-year-old blindside flanker/lock is 6’4″ and 258 lbs.
Corey is from Western Australia. He played rugby for the Perth Spirit in the inaugural National Rugby Championship in 2014-2015. He then moved to Brisbane and played with GPS Club before signing with the 2015 championship-winning Brisbane City.
Corey moved to Japan to play in the Japan Top League with the Canon Eagles during the 2016-2017 season.
The signing of emerging prospect Corey Thomas shows how strongly the LA Giltinis are invested in Major League Rugby’s mission to improve American and Canadian rugby. In 2018-2019 he played with the Kamaishi Seawaves in the Challenge League and in 2019-2020 with the Super Rugby Sunvolves.
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Although playing in Australia and Japan, Thomas is Canadian qualified through his father Phillip who was born in Edmonton, Canada.
His heritage means he will not only be driving hard for wins at MLR’s new club but also auditioning under the gaze of the Canadian national team selectors.
“I’m beyond excited to play for the Giltinis and part of that is the collaboration already,” Thomas said.
“A lot of the players are still all over the world yet our head coach (Darren Coleman) has put in a lot of effort on Zoom calls to get us connected as a playing group.
“I’ve put on 11lb since the Sunwolves finished and feel bigger, stronger, and faster than I ever have. It’s just exciting to think of running into someone again after all the time off.”
The 258lb Thomas said the chance to develop under quality coaches and further his ambitions were drawcards at the progressive Los Angeles club.
He’ll get to develop beside star forward signings Dave Dennis (Australia) and Adam Ashe (Scotland), both Test-toughened international forwards, while being guided by assistant coach Stephen Hoiles, a former Wallaby backrower.
“I’ve some really big goals in rugby and when you are around quality players and coaches you have to be a sponge to learn everything you can,” Thomas said.
“It’s going to be good playing with and helping the team’s American and Canadian players because there’ll always be a trigger there to learn something yourself.
“The teams which have the best fans have that directly rub off on the enjoyment felt by the players and I’m really looking forward to the enthusiasm of our American fans.”
Hoiles believes strongly in the charter of the Giltinis to develop American and Canadian players as part of the drive for success.
“Growing the game of rugby in North America will always be one of the club’s key aims,” Hoiles said.
“Corey has had a taste of professional rugby and wants more so he comes to us with the drive to play at the highest level.
“He’s a hybrid lock-blindside flanker with good lineout skills who can play for us as a local because of his Canadian heritage.”
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.