NOLA Gold signed Giovanni Lapp for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 30-year-old back row is 6’0″ and 220lbs.
Giovanni was called up from the New Orleans Rugby Club D1 side in 2019 to play against the Glendale Raptors. Unfortunately, he was injured during the week and missed the season while he recovered. During Fall 2019 he played with the Pontchartrain PoBoys helping the team to an undefeated regular Robert Merkel Cup season. The team later lost in the Championship final to Krewe Rugby Club. He had since played with New Orleans in 2020. He did not play in regular-season matches for NOLA Gold in 2020. He did play for NOLA Gold Academy and the Pontchartrain PoBoys during Fall 2020.
Gio is from Carlsbad, California, and attended Carlsbad High School, graduating in 2008. He was on the track and field team and also played football, where he was named to the All-Avocado League Team and was Offensive Lineman of the Year. He also was an Assistant Pop Warner Coach in 2006-2007.
He then attended Cal Lutheran in 2008-2012, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications. He played football and rugby for the Kingsmen. In football, he helped the team advance to the NCAA postseason playoffs in 2009. He was an All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2009, and 2nd and 1st Team in 2010 and 2011, respectively. He also was a team captain for the latter two years.
In rugby, Cal Lutheran were the 2012 NSCRO Conference Champions, Southern California Champions, and Runners-Up in the inaugural California Cup.
Following his graduation, he played with Northern Virginia Rugby Club in 2014 and the Hawaii Harlequins from 2016-2018. He captained the 7s in 2017 and 15s in 2018.
Gio then wanted a shot at playing professional rugby. He played with New Orleans RFC in 2018-2019 and was selected to play for NOLA Gold Rugby Club against the Glendale Raptors, but a midweek injury ended his season. He has returned to health and expects to contribute to NOLA Gold in 2020.
NOLA Gold Comments
General Manager Ryan Fitzgerald said “Gio has done an outstanding job over the past 3 years of developing in our player pathway to the Gold. A native of California, moving to Nola and grinding through our NORFC Men’s club, Academy games, and training daily with the Gold. A tough competitor that puts in the work and continues to get better!! We are proud of his work and to have him back in Gold.”