The LA Giltinis signed powerful Canadian qualified prop Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin through the 2024 season. The 29-year-old prop (30 in January) is 5’9″ and 255 lbs.
Les is from Canberra, Australia, however, his father Joseph was born in Canada, and his mother Lave in Samoa, which makes him eligible to play for three national teams.
Les played club rugby with the Queanbeyan Whites since 2012 and played in the inaugural National Rugby Championship in 2014 with Canberra Vikings. With the latter, he made 32 appearances through 2019.
From 2015-2019 he played 50 Super Rugby matches with the Brumbies before joining the Kurita Water Gush in Japan in 2020.
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Les indicated about his move to LA saying “I’m really excited about this new adventure. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Giltinis and I’ve been very impressed with their overall style of play from watching on TV.”
“I played with (Giltinis prop) Charlie Abel in the First XV at school so I have a link at the club straight away.
“I’ve been working on strength and fitness in Australia. My running and weights program from (Head of Athletic Performance) Mick Stephen mimics what the boys are doing in LA.”
“I can’t tell you how hungry I am to play some good rugby because COVID-19 restrictions have kept me from playing since April.”
The Australian club rugby season in Canberra in 2021 was curtailed so Leuluaialii-Makin’s last game was for the Karita Water Gush in Japan seven months ago.
His time at the Brumbies (2015-19) meant regularly scrummaging at training against top Wallabies props Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa.
“That experience was invaluable and has molded me into the player I am today. The confidence boost from that at scrum, lineout, and maul is awesome,” Leuluaialii-Makin said.
“I know the quality of the program at the Giltinis is going to be elite and fun too to keep improving my game.”
Leuluaialii-Makin is happier at tighthead prop but can play loosehead as well. That versatility will be useful with a new breed of props emerging with the Giltinis program.
Head coach Stephen Hoiles did homework on his new prop through the Brumbies club he once played with and knows he has a hardworking recruit.
“Les is still young for a prop at 29. He has excellent experience in Super Rugby, he’s been in the Brumbies Academy pretty much since he was 12 and he just knows how to scrum,” Hoiles said.