The Runner Sports

USA Club Rugby Report: Austin Huns Win DI National Championship; Hanco Germishuys Named Man Of The Match

The Austin Huns outlasted New York Athletic Club in a 27-23 slobber knocker to claim the USA Rugby Club National Championship. Power, pace, and patience described New York Athletic Club’s (NYAC) approach against Austin but the Huns countered NYAC’s size with the hard running, huge hits, and the unmatched intensity of Man of the Match Hanco Germishuys.

First Half

The first 40 was dominated by the boots of the match fly-halves as Austin’s Timothee Guillimin and NYAC’s Harry Bennett accounted for the early scoring until Huns’ Peter Malcolm took over. While sloppy play by both squads kept the match close for most of the first half, Malcolm saw an opportunity to score on an NYAC over pursuit and wouldn’t be denied. Malcolm later tallied a try assist on a dive by Number 8 Deon Minnaar. At the half, the Huns looked to have seized the momentum leading 17-6 but NYAC would answer.

Second Half

The second 40 looked to be a mirror of the first as sloppy play and untimely handling errors plagued both sides until a slick dummy opened a huge hole for NYAC fullback Chris Mattina, who’s converted try brought NYAC within 5 points. Bennett’s penalty kick closed the gap and continued the pendulum swing of momentum toward NYAC. After Guillimin answered with a penalty kick of his own to bring the score to 20-16, NYAC countered yet again. After a beautifully skillful series of passes, Gareth Gibbs planted the seed that Bennett converted; 23-20 NYAC with 10 minutes left. Momentum was clearly on the side of the men from the Big Apple until Hanco Germishuys ripped out their hearts.

While Captain Lomani Tongatonga made the line break that allowed fellow winger Sani Taylor to score the match-winning try, it was Hanco ‘The Hammer’ Germishuys’ powerful, bruising run previously that sparked the rally. Throughout the match, Germishuys was a one-man demolition crew on defense and a punishing runner on attack whose wrecking ball style runs stemmed the tide of NYAC’s advance. His assault on NYAC’s defense may have been the single most important aspect of the Huns’ attack as it appeared he singlehandedly wore down NYAC in the last 20 minutes.

Major League Rugby Awaits

With their first national championship in the Huns’ 45-year history heading for their trophy case, Austin is bound for the professional MLR competition in 2018 and are obviously heading in the right direction to compete at the highest level. However, with an academy system in development, this may not be the last we see of the Austin Huns in the USA Club Rugby National Championship.