Representing your country in a World Cup is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements in any athlete’s career — regardless of the sport, regardless of the outcome.
And when Hanco Germishuys first picked up a rugby ball as a baby in South Africa, little did he know his journey would bring him to the highest peak of American rugby.
“As a baby I’d always go to my dad’s rugby matches; and since then, I’ve just played with bigger teams and joined his practices. After that, I was hooked, I’ve been playing since I was six years old,” he said. “When I turned 15 we moved to America and since then I’ve been playing rugby here.”
When Germishuys moved to the U.S., his passion for rugby moved with him. And even though he was no longer pursuing a well-known and highly recognized national sport, it didn’t change anything.
He’d represent the USA in the first Olympic event that featured rugby in nearly 90 years with the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing; also earning more selections with the High School All-Americans and Under-20s.
Germishuys would remain embedded in the USA’s age-grade programs until he earned his first cap in XVs in 2016 against Brazil. Two years later in 2018, he’d score a crucial try to help the U.S. to its first-ever win over a top-ranked nation against then No. 6 Scotland.
In the same way Germishuys grew in rugby, rugby has grown more prominent in the United States.
“When I first came to America when I was 15, in my town, we had maybe three or four teams and now we’re up to maybe 14 teams. There’s definitely a lot of involvement,” he said.
And while the sport continues to carve out its place within the mold of American sport, Germishuys can already attest to the positive impact that comes with having the U.S. compete in a Rugby World Cup.
“One of my coaches back home, his son is seven years old and he’s watching the World Cup as a little boy. I talk to him maybe twice a week and he’s loving it.”
As the World Cup has spread it’s bright and infectious spirit across the globe, Germishuys reflects on the privilege of representing the stars and stripes at the world’s third-largest single-sport event; something he’s dreamed of since he was the same age as his Coach’s son.
“It’s definitely a new experience being at the World Cup. I’m very excited, especially because I’ve been dreaming about this opportunity since I was six years old with my family. That feeling of being able to run out with my squad and sing the national anthem is definitely something I look forward to.”
On Wednesday, Hanco Germishuys will start at flanker for the United States second matchup of Rugby World Cup Japan against France. The game kicks off at 3:45 AM ET on both NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold.
Written by Nick Heath for Rugby World Cup News Service
By rights, Thretton Palamo should be playing in his fourth World Cup if he comes off the bench against France on Wednesday. But it will only be his third.
He succumbed to a fit of common sense before Rugby World Cup 2011 and missed the tournament in New Zealand after accepting a college scholarship to play American football and complete his education.
“It’s obviously a privilege to get that opportunity and do four, it’s just that another opportunity arose at that time so I got my education in,” he said.
“I think all athletes are always worried about what’s coming next. That’s usually the No.1 topic around coffee – what are we doing after rugby? I’ve got my degree now, so I kind of have a little bit of ease in my mind.”
USA centre Palamo was the youngest player at Rugby World Cup 2007 in France. He is one of just 15 players from that tournament who have made it to Japan 12 years later.
Palamo was 19 when he played in the USA’s first RWC 2007 match against South Africa, which the Eagles lost 64-15. He has just turned 31 and says understanding of the game has grown in the USA side over the years.
“I grew up knowing the game from watching it, so in 2007 it was a little weird seeing a lot of my team-mates who were a little unsure of the rules,” he said.
“That plays a huge part in the game because your reaction time is only with what you know. We had athletes – that was never an issue – but the rugby intelligence was a little bit behind.
“Definitely you’re seeing the change now. A lot of kids are getting a lot more game time at a younger age. You can see that their bodies are a lot more fluent in the movement of the game. It is different to, say, American football or basketball.”
Palamo puts the speed of learning in other countries down to an increased frequency of matches at club level.
“It’s repetition. Overseas they play week in and week out. You see certain things so much that it becomes second nature.
“You see a play that’s happened over and over again and you can almost anticipate what’s going to happen next. Whereas in the States, we’re still trying to get that game time.”
Palamo featured in RWC 2015, below, when the US finished bottom of their pool without registering a point. But his inclusion in the 2019 USA squad was anything but a foregone conclusion. Two years ago, he was considering life after rugby having broken his foot several times.
“To be called into the World Cup squad, that caught me off-guard. I wasn’t sure if I was in the running.
“I was approached by the coaches saying, ‘would I like to give it a shot’? I thought, ‘why not’? Coming to the end of it, you might as well go as hard as you can. I’ve got older brothers, too, and they’re all in the work world and they were all telling me to go for as long as I can. That’s what helped me push myself to doing it.”
Following their 45-7 defeat by England on Thursday, USA have had to say goodbye to young prop David Ainu’u, who was injured in the third minute of the match. Chance Wenglewski will join the squad in Japan in his place.
Will Hooley and Paul Lasike continue their recoveries after taking knocks in that match, with both still to return to training.
FUKUOKA, JPN. – Head Coach Gary Gold has named his side for the USA Men’s National Team XV’s next clash of Rugby World Cup 2019 against France Weds, Oct 2 (KO 3:45 AM ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold).
LIVE STREAM | LIVE UPDATES | USA MEDIA GUIDE | HOW RUGBY WORKS
Following injuries to David Ainu’u, Will Hooley and Paul Lasike, as well as a red card to John Quill, the named squad will feature eight total changes from last week’s battle with England.
Forwards will see Eric Fry jump in at prop in what will be his third Rugby World Cup with Nate Brakeley in at lock and Hanco Germishuys starting at flanker.
The backs will see Bryce Campbell start at center and Mike Te’o start at fullback. Both Te’o and Campbell came off the bench with much-needed energy last week against England with Campbell scoring a try in the final minutes.
Ben Pinkelman, Thretton Palamo and Will Magie could see their first taste of World Cup action as all three are named to the reserves. Like Fry, Palamo would also be playing in this third Rugby World Cup tournament.
With David Ainu’u having flown home to continue his recovery, Chance Wenglewski has joined the team in Japan. Will Hooley and Paul Lasike continue to progress daily with medical personnel hoping for both to be available for the final two matches of pool play.
|PLAYER NAME||POSITION||CLUB||CAPS TO DATE|
|1. Eric Fry||Prop||Vannes||45|
|2. Joe Taufete’e||Hooker||Worcester Warriors||24|
|3. Titi Lamositele||Prop||Saracens||29|
|4. Nate Brakeley||Lock||Rugby United New York||21|
|5. Nick Civetta||Lock||Unattached||24|
|6. Tony Lamborn||Flanker||Melbourne Rebels |
Hawke’s Bay Magpies
|7. Hanco Germishuys||Flanker||Glendale Raptors||18|
|8. Cam Dolan||No. 8||NOLA Gold||48|
|9. Shaun Davies||Scrum half||Glendale Raptors||26|
|10. AJ MacGinty||Flyhalf||Sale Sharks||25|
|11. Martin Iosefo||Wing||USA Sevens||7|
|12. Bryce Campbell||Center||London Irish||29|
|13. Marcel Brache||Center||Western Force||20|
|14. Blaine Scully (C)||Wing||Unattached||51|
|15. Mike Te’o||Fullback||San Diego Legion||25|
|PLAYER NAME||POSITION||CLUB||CAPS TO DATE|
|16. Dylan Fawsitt||Reserve||Rugby United New York||13|
|17. Olive Kilifi||Reserve||Seattle Seawolves||28|
|18. Paul Mullen||Reserve||Unattached||15|
|19. Greg Peterson||Reserve||Newcastle Falcons||27|
|20. Ben Pinkelman||Reserve||USA Sevens||2|
|21. Ruben de Haas||Reserve||Free State Cheetahs||14|
|22. Will Magie||Reserve||Unattached||25|
|23. Thretton Palamo||Reserve||Houston SaberCats||18|
General Manager | Dave Hodges
Head Coach | Gary Gold
Assistant Coach, Attack | Greg McWilliams
Assistant Coach, Set Piece | Shawn Pittman
Assistant Coach, Defense | Jaque Fourie
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Huw Bevan
Performance Analyst | Jimmy Harrison
Assistant S&C and Analyst | Tom Kindley
Team Doctor | Mark Sakr
Team Doctor | Sam Akhavan
Head Athletic Trainer | Kevin Ng
Athletic Trainer | Kristen Douhan
Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz
Team Manager | Chris Hanson
Assistant Team Manager | Oscar Alvarez
LAST MATCH | ENG 45-7 USA
In their opening match of Rugby World Cup 2019, the United States faced England for the first time in roughly 12 years. The Red Roses were sharp to say the least, dominating field position, set piece play and possession to come away with their second bonus point victory of Japan.
The first 20 minutes of action were close, plagued by an injury to U.S. prop David Ainu’u who came off the field within the first two minutes. U.S. penalties, a powerful English maul and missed tackles allowed the Red Roses to build 19-0 lead at halftime, though the scoreline was still within grasp coming out of the break.
Where the first half was challenging, the second half became detrimental. The United States were stuck in their own half for far too long as England remained quick off the line and dangerously precise with ball in hand. A red card to U.S. flanker John Quill with injuries to fullback Will Hooley and center Paul Lasike put an unfortunate spin on an already disappointing performance for the USA.
With a minute to go and England up by 45 points, Ruben de Haas broke the gain line and Bryce Campbell dove over the tryline to signal the never-ending fight by the Americans at full time.
FULL MATCH RECAP | WATCH HIGHLIGHTS
THE MATCHUP | USA VS FRANCE
History will always follow any matchups between the Men’s Eagles and the French as it was nearly a century ago when the U.S. side defeated France to win gold in the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games.
Since both first met in 1920, France have sat on the better side of a 2-6 overall record with the USA men falling 31-39 in their most recent meeting in Connecticut 15 years ago (2004). France comes into Wednesday’s matchup as No. 7 in the World Rankings with the U.S. holding steady at No. 13.
After a narrow 23-21 victory over Argentina, France sit third in Pool C with 4 points and will enter Wednesday’s matchup having had 11 days of rest. The United States comes off of a short week where only six days will separate their previous matchup with England.
COMMENTS FROM HEAD COACH GARY GOLD
“It’s been a tough week and more than anything we’re ready to get back out there and prove that we’re a much better rugby team than we showed against England. Based on the standards we set for ourselves, we’re disappointed in our performance as we know we have much more to offer.
“The injuries we’ve picked up present their own challenge, no doubt. But this is a team built with much more than 23 players and we have faith in the ability of the guys selected to step up and do their jobs.
“France is another very good rugby team whom we know will bring an incredibly physical challenge. We have the utmost respect for them as we do all the teams in our pool and we realize that if we don’t remain sharp or disciplined in every aspect of this game, the French will punish us in the same way. It’ll be a very competitive challenge but one that we welcome with open arms.”
RUGBY WORLD CUP POOL C UPDATE
Following their victory over the United States, England sit atop the Pool C standings with 10 points from two bonus point wins.
Argentina come in second at six points, after a narrow loss to France where they still collected a bonus point, as well as a victory over Tonga days ago. The French are third with four points with the U.S. and Tonga still seeking their first points in the table.
PHOTO CREDIT | MIKE LEE
Eagles prop David Ainu’u will fly home to continue his recovery from an injury sustained against
England. In his stead, Rugby ATL’s Chance Wenglewski will join the team in Japan.
Will Hooley and Paul Lasike continue their respective recoveries with their availability for selection to be communicated in the roster announcement to face France.
The United States will face France on Oct 2 (KO 3:45 AM ET on NBCSN & NBC Sports Gold) at Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium. Following France, the Eagles will head to Kumagaya for a contest with Argentina before their last matchup of Pool C against Tonga in Osaka.
PHOTO CREDIT | Mike Lee / KLC Fotos
Issued on behalf of World Rugby
TOKYO, JPN – USA flanker John Quill appeared before an independent judicial committee today having received a red card for an act of foul play contrary to Law 9.13 (dangerous tackle) in USA’s Rugby World Cup 2019 match against England on September 26.
Quill admitted that he had committed an act of foul play worthy of a red card. In determining the sanction, the committee deemed that:
- There was an act of foul play (which was reckless, rather than deliberate)
- The act of foul play was a shoulder charge
- There was contact with the head
- There was a high degree of danger; and
- There were not sufficient mitigating factors to reduce the sanction from a red card to a yellow card
Given the above outcomes, the committee applied World Rugby’s mandatory minimum mid-range entry point, which was introduced in 2017 to mitigate protect player welfare, deter high contact and prevent head injuries. This resulted in a starting point of a six-week suspension.
Having acknowledged Quill’s good character and conduct at the hearing, the committee reduced the six-week entry point by three weeks, resulting in a sanction of three weeks, which equates to three matches in the context of the Rugby World Cup.
Quill will miss the USA’s three remaining pool matches (against France, Argentina and Tonga) at Rugby World Cup 2019. The suspension will end at midnight on October 13, after which time he is free to resume playing.
The committee, chaired by Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand) with former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland) and former international match official Valeriu Toma (Romania), heard the case, considering all the available evidence, including multiple broadcast angles and submissions from the player and his representative.