The LA Giltinis signed Luke White for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 29-year-old lock is 6’3″ and 255 lbs.
Luke started all five matches in 2020 with the Colorado Raptors and was the team captain. It was his third year with the club.
During the 2019 season, he assumed a leadership role as either captain or vice-captain. He played 1,041 minutes in 16 matches, scoring 3 tries. He made 180 carries for 1159 meters with many of the carries crash balls down the middle of the pitch which opened up the wide channel for the backs. He also made 159 tackles and had 4 lineout takes and 1 steal. He had 6 linebreaks, 4 tackle breaks, and made 11 offloads.
After the 2019 season, Luke has turned to coach as an Assistant Coach at Harvard University for their Fall season.
In 2018, Luke played 416 minutes in 10 matches, starting 5, and scored 1 try. The Raptors had the best regular-season record but fell in the MLR Shield final to the Seattle Seawolves, despite beating them twice during the regular season.
White is from Sydney, Australia, and has been a key contributor at Glendale for some time. The 2019 season was an important one for him, as he became USA eligible in January 2019. Playing for the USA National team would be an honor and an accomplishment if it is realized in the future.
White’s began playing rugby in Sydney with the Eastwood juniors. He went to high school at Saint Ignatius College, Riverview, one of the best rugby schools in Australia. The team won the GPS 1st XV premiership in both 2008 and in 2009. He also spent the 2009-2010 season with the Wests Tigers Rugby League training squad. He then joined the Manly Marlins Rugby Union Club for the 2010-2011 season.
Between 2012-2015 White concentrated on his education at the College of Physical Education (ACPE), where he studied Sports Coaching and Administration. He also spent time coaching both rugby and as a former shot put champion, coaching the shot put, at St. Ignatius College and at St. Aloysius College.
In 2015 he joined the Glendale Raptors and helped them to win the Pacific Rugby Premiership and was recognized for his performance with the MVP award. He also played with Glendale in 2016 prior to joining the Denver Stampede. After the season he resumed playing with the Raptors before the teams changed names to the Glendale Merlins for its amateur team.
Luke provides a steadying influence row in the front row. He is an unselfish player who has placed the team’s needs before his own. Although he played both prop and lock during the 2018 Major League Rugby season, the loosehead prop is his more natural position. A combination of factors led him to spend more time at lock last year. The red cards of two players and then subsequent international duty, had him moving from the front row.
In Fall 2018, he played in exhibition matches for the Raptors wherever needed. This was a way for the team to blend seasoned veterans in key positions, while younger players could be evaluated to see how they might be a fit for the 2019 season.
During 2019 Luke continued to play lock and in 2020 will do the same. Playing lock instead of prop helped the team, but also means that chances of playing for the USA National Team are diminished. Luke is a leader and plays at full tilt in an effort to see the team succeed.
After spending time coaching rugby at Harvard during Fall 2019, he returned to Glendale in time for preseason training and assumed a leadership role again in 2020.
DJCoil Rugby Interview with Luke White
It is always difficult to do interviews immediately following a loss. Luke showed his character and leadership by joining me for an interview following a match against Rugby United New York at MCU Park on March 24, 2019.
LA Giltinis Comments
The LA Giltinis is assembling the best squad ever seen in Major League Rugby, according to new lock signing Luke White.
The high praise comes on the day that the influential Australia-born, USA-qualified forward can be revealed as an upbeat signing for the next two years.
Playing in every iteration of professional rugby in the USA since 2015 puts White in the ideal position to appraise the strength of the playing and coaching roster being put together by the new club for Los Angeles.
One of MLR’s premier performers will add powerful ball-carries, a big work ethic, valuable leadership, and experience for the March kick-off to the Giltinis’ inaugural season.
“I think the Giltinis can make an incredible impression on the league,” White said.
“It’s the best squad of rugby players I’ve been a part of and that’s from the mix of skill and talent from local and overseas players.
“On top of that, the level of professionalism from (head coach) Darren Coleman at the outset and a top group of coaches won me over easily and convincingly.
“Starting a team in Los Angeles adds another level of excitement because who wouldn’t think of jumping on board in a city with such a sports and entertainment history.
“I know there is a strong club rugby scene in California and good bases of fans to connect with.”
The former Raptors captain will inject valuable leadership into the Giltinis’ maiden voyage in a competition he says is getting “stronger and stronger.”
“I’d say the standard of gameplay has improved 60 percent from the PRP in 2015 to today. All facets are superior and that includes some of the biggest gains in defense,” White said.
“That’s one reason it’s such a huge advantage to have a coaching staff of high caliber.
“It’s been a virtual start-up for a professional team and getting to know new teammates on Zoom because of the pandemic.
“That’s a very interesting start for any team but how well Darren navigated the shutdown in Australia was a big factor in his Gordon club team winning a premiership for the first time in 22 years.”
Off the field, White has been an assistant coach at Harvard for two seasons and they are skills he wants to keep working on for the future.
“Luke gets through some really strong ball-carries and he’s got the respect of players across MLR,” Giltinis assistant coach Stephen Hoiles said.
“He’s already put in hard work to change his body shape to be the lock we want and he’s eager to be taught some of the finer tasks.
“Good leaders are important and we expect him to take the lead in the USA with some of the important off-field tasks of the next few months.”
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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