The star-studded Los Angeles franchise in Major League Rugby, who are owned, coached and run by Australians and have Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper on their books, have been disqualified from the MLR finals over an undisclosed breach of competition rules.
The LA Giltinis join the Austin Gilgronis in being booted out of the competition in 2022, after the latter was disqualified last week.
The Guardian reported the Giltinis and the Gilronis had been disqualified for salary cap breaches but the MLR did not specify a reason for the sanction on LA.
Due to a violation of league rules, the LA Giltinis have been disqualified from the 2022 Major League Rugby competition, it read.
A US rugby source with knowledge of the situation told the Herald the disqualification was not due to a salary cap breach.
Both franchises are and the teams were sitting first and second in the MLR’s western conference at the end of the regular season.
The LA Giltinis came into MLR last year and won the competition. The franchise is full of Australians and was coached by now-Waratahs coach Darren Coleman in their inaugural season.
Former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles now coaches the team, and Ashley-Cooper serves as an assistant after playing last year. Another former Wallaby, Adam Freier, is the Giltinis general manager.
Giteau headlines a huge cast of Australian players, which also includes former Wallaby Dave Dennis, Will Chambers, Billy Meakes, Angus Cottrell and Harrison Goddard.
The Gilgronis are coached by former Waratah and Manly Sea Eagle Sam Harris and contain Aussie players such as Locky McCaffrey, Mack Mason and Ryan Louwrens.
Major League Rugby did not provide further detail on the disqualification of the two Gilchrist-owned franchises. Both have been contacted for comment.
Former Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell, who is a close friend of Giteau and Ashley-Cooper, posted on Twitter that the disqualification of the Giltinis was not salary-cap related, but rather an MLR response to threats that the LA Giltinis could withdraw in support of the Gilronis.
The dramatic disqualifications come just weeks after the USA was awarded the hosting rights for the 2031 and 2034 Rugby World Cups.
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