All photos credited to Norma Salinas Photography
If you don’t know who he is already let me introduce you to Hanco Germishuys (pronounced ger-mis-huys) the South African-born USA Capped Eagle I’ve nicknamed ‘The Hammer.’ Why ‘The Hammer?’ Well, if you’re asking that you’ve obviously never seen him play; the Austin Huns alternate Captain is a beast on the field. From hooker to flanker he plays with speed like a winger and power like a center and is equally adept on attack as he is on defense.
Rugby Nation USA had the pleasure of interviewing one of our favorites…Eagle #489 is a future star on the International stage and it’s time to get to know Hanco ‘The Hammer’ Germishuys.
Rugby Nation USA (RN): Several know your story but for those who may not; how did a South African born guy end up in the US?
Hanco Germishuys (HG): Well, my father moved here about 11 years ago now and then I followed about 5 years ago and I told him I’ll only come if he finds me a school that has rugby and so he did.
RN: Did you play rugby in South Africa? If so, what age did you begin playing?
HG: I did play rugby in South Africa and started playing from the age of 6. South Africans are born with rugby in their blood.
RN: I believe your first club in the US was West Omaha; what did you think of the club environment compared to South Africa?
HG: It was a lot different and the level of rugby wasn’t that good but I adapted to that and started teaching some of my teammates the knowledge I had of the game and we won 3 state championships.
RN: What was the rugby landscape like in Omaha? Are there several teams, experience levels of local players, local fan base understanding of the game?
HG: Rugby was slowly growing when I first got to Omaha there were about 6 high school teams and by the time I was done with high school there were about 12 so it growing.
RN: Who is the best player you’ve ever taken the pitch with?
HG: I would say Pedrie [Wannenburg] because I learn so much from him as a player. He passed a lot of his knowledge down to me.
HG: My high school coach David Synnott he’s been there since I moved to America and he’s always pushed me to do better and be the best I can be.
RN: What was your experience like in Gloucester?
HG: Being in Gloucester was a great experience I learned so much more about the game and how I can be a better player in my position and I learn a lot about small skills that you can use in the game.
RN: Is there anything in the US that compares to your overseas experience?
HG: The closest thing that would compare to my experience was the pro rugby last year with Denver. It fell like a full time environment and there was a lot of good players.
RN: You’ve had the great opportunity to play for both Glendale and Austin, two leaders in rugby’s growth in the US. What are they doing right?
HG: Glendale and Austin are doing a great job at developing their players and strengthening all the core skills of rugby.
RN: What are the similarities between the Austin and Glendale communities?
HG: Both team are growing the game and trying to be the best team out there.
RN: What are their differences?
HG: Glendale is a little more advanced then Austin at the moment with their stadium and gym set up they have.
RN: What’s it like being in the Austin environment as they grow towards professionalism?
HG: It’s good because I can see how we are improving as a team and how the Huns field is getting better and starting to move in the right direction.
RN: What’s your opinion on how we as a rugby nation can improve our youth development?
HG: I think we should focus on the youth because in 10 years they will be the ones playing the game when rugby is big in America.
RN: Is there a coaching career in The Hammer’s future?
HG: I have no clue on that one yet but I wouldn’t mind passing on my knowledge to the youth of rugby.
RN: Finally, which of your teammates is most likely to be a standup comic on open mic night?
HG: I would definitely have to say Martin [Knoetz].
RN: Thank you Hanco, we all look forward to seeing you on the pitch this summer with the Eagles!