LA Giltinis signs England’s Rugby Sevens captain Tom Mitchell on a two-year deal following his return from an injury sustained at the Tokyo Olympics. The 32-year-old fullback/flyhalf is 5’10” and 190 lbs.
Mitchell, 32, has a fine pedigree to play at fullback and is regarded as the most balanced and rounded performer on the World Rugby’s HSBC Sevens circuit since his debut in 2012.
While he has been away from the 15-a-side game for a decade, his skill development, leadership, and professional habits suggest a strong transition at the Giltinis.
“In equal parts, there is the excitement and the challenge of this move to the Giltinis,” Mitchell said from England. “It’s a cool opportunity at this time in my life and career after the past nine or 10 seasons in sevens.“I’m under no illusion that there is a lot of learning to be done. That’s one of the things that excites me, after all, I’ve heard about the team environment at the Giltinis. “I still have a ways to go to be ready for my MLR debut, but looking forward to getting on the pitch in this Spring.”
He will be a late starter to the 2022 Major League Rugby season after surgery in November to repair the ruptured hamstring tendon he first damaged at the Tokyo Olympics.
His taste of rugby US-style has only been positive to date after enjoying the atmosphere at Sevens Series tournaments in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
“The engagement from fans at the tournaments I’ve played in LA has been amazing and you don’t get that everywhere,” Mitchell added.
“It seems to be a really dynamic time to play in the MLR. Coming from a sevens background, there’s always been that hunger in me to help grow the game in some of the places we play. To now be part of growing the game in LA really plays into my drive.”
Giltinis head coach Stephen Hoiles was first impressed by Mitchell at close range when an assistant coach for Australia’s men’s sevens team on the world circuit. “Tom has been one of the standouts of the World Series sevens for years,” Hoiles said. “He has very good footwork and is well-balanced as a player but I’ve also seen how he stands out as a leader off the field. He’s a very good signing.”
signed Dean Muir for the 2021 Major League Rugby season, his third with the club. The 31-year-old hooker (32 in February) is 6’0″ and 227 lbs. He played in all five games in 2020, four as a stater, and in 2019 played in 12 games, including the MLR Shield Championship.
Dean is from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and moved to San Diego from Cape Town. He attended Glenwood High School from 2002-to 2007 and the University of South Africa.
He played youth rugby with the Sharks from 2006-2008, playing with the Under-18s during Craven Week in 2006 and 2007. He played with the Under-19s in 2008. Four years later, he returned to the Sharks for the 2012 Vodacom Cup but did not enter a match against the Boland Cavaliers as a reserve.
During the 2010 season, he played with the TUT Vikings in the Varsity Cup, appearing 8 times. He then played in the Currie Cup during the 2013-2014 season with the Border Bulldogs, making 31 appearances and scoring 4 tries. In 2014 he also played with the UKZN Impi, making 10 appearances with 1 try.
Dean moved to the Valke (Falcons) from 2014-2016, playing 39 times with 4 tries. During the Fall 2016 season, Dean played in New York for Old Blue in the American Rugby Premiership. For the 2017-2018 season, he played with Western Province 18 times, scoring 4 tries. Later in 2018 he played with the Stormers 6 times and then in Japan for the Kintetsu Liners.
Dean is an experienced hooker who adds stability and experience to the front row. His addition along with other changes should bolster the team in set pieces.