A Conversation With Glendale Raptors’ Captain Luke White
I completed an internship with the Glendale Raptors in 2016 as a junior at Colorado State University. Before the Raptors competed in the MLR, they were a powerhouse in the Pacific Rugby Premiership. One of the largest parts of my duties as an intern that season was to write the player biographies of Glendale’s men’s and women’s Division I sides for the team website, so I got to know a handful of members on those teams. The Raptors’ current roster looks a lot different than the one that they fielded during that 2016 PRP season, but one of the few people still on the team is Luke White. I’ve had the opportunity to watch White play four of his five seasons as a Glendale Raptor pretty closely, so I know that he is on a different kind of tear five games into his second season in the MLR. I had the opportunity to catch up with White and ask him a few questions about his season after the Raptors’ 22-0 victory over the Toronto Arrows on Saturday night.
1) Is this the best you’ve played?
“Yeah, I definitely think this is some of the best rugby I’ve played for sure consistently week in and week out. About a bit more than a year and a half ago I tore my ACL in my knee, so it was a bit of a tough ride coming back from that. Last season in the MLR was my first season back from that injury and I was sort of just getting back on track with my fitness and what not. That season and a really strong preseason has got me into a lot better shape, and I think I’m back to playing some of my best rugby.”
2) What does it mean to you to be the captain of this team?
“It’s definitely a huge honor. I love this team and this club. This is my fifth season now with Glendale and it’s definitely become my second home after Sydney, Australia. I’ve always loved this club and the feeling of what they’ve got going on here in Glendale. I’ve bought into the culture from the first day that I was here and now, when our captain Shaun (Davies) steps away on USA Eagle duties I am more than happy to put my hand up and captain the side. I’m really enjoying it and I think that the boys are enjoying it too. It’s a great experience for me because I’ve been captain before but never at this high senior level so it’s definitely a great experience for me.”
3) How has last year’s loss in the MLR Championship driven you guys this season?
“It was definitely a downer last season to come through at the end and not win it. It was one of those things that we beat Seattle twice during the season, and when it comes to the game that matters we went down but on that day the better team won. Obviously, that left a bit of a sour feeling inside of us of not getting the job we wanted to get done completely. It’s definitely put some fire in the belly, and yeah this season didn’t start the exact way that we wanted to but I think we are building on that now and we are getting better and getting some consistency. We’ve got a good chunk of our away games out of the way, and now we’re at home so that should make things easier for us.”