The LA Giltinis signed Luca Tani for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 25-year-old lock is 6’4″ and 240 lbs.
Luca joined the Austin Gilgronis from San Francisco Golden Gate during the 2020 MLR season and played in the final three matches as a reserve. In November he played with the Miami Sun at the World Tens Series in Bermuda.
Luca is from Santa Cruz, California, and attended Monta Vista High School. He wrestled in middle school and was on the swimming and water polo teams in high school. Recently he was attending Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz to be an EMT. That is on hold for now as he pursues professional rugby for the Gilgronis.
Luca played rugby for Silicon Valley RFC during the 2015-2016 season. He then switched to San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club and played with their D2 side until 2019 when he also played in the Pacific Rugby Premiership. He currently was played for the PRP side for 2020. He also played rugby sevens for SFGG.
Luca made his Major League Rugby debut against the Utah Warriors in the third match of the season, before making two more appearances in 2020.
LA Giltinis Comments
“The high-quality coaching staff, with Orene’s connection to the club, is the big factor that drew me to the Giltinis,” Tani said.
“Orene is the one who helped get me to Texas to cover an injury at the Gilgronis and I’m super-keen to keep developing as an MLR player.
“It’s awesome to be able to go full-time in rugby from two or three practices a week to five or six.”
The Tani heritage is Italian and he has paused his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training to be a firefighter to grab his rugby chance with both hands.
“To be playing with others from around the world at a club just four hours down the freeway from where I live in Santa Cruz is pretty cool,” Tani said.
“Together, we get to set the standards of a new club.
“I played at the World Tens in Bermuda (in October-November) so I got to share some of the excitement for the Giltinis with guys like Nick Boyer, DTH (van der Merwe), and Sean and Harry McNulty, who are all heading to LA.
“Los Angeles is my kind of city to live in and I’m really looking forward to being able to spread the word about rugby through youth programs and coaching young players in the community.”
Tani was first curious about rugby when he saw a photo at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz County and asked “what sport is that?”
He joined a club and was quickly hooked before refining his game at the San Francisco Golden Gate club where Ai’i coached.
“Luca is a young Californian player who is fit, full of energy, has an off-loading game and puts his head down and goes to work,” Ai’i said.
“With the skill development in the Giltinis program, Luca can become a fine lock because he’s going to have a chance to learn all the micro-skills required in his position.”