Returning backrower Hanco Germishuys has forecast an intense, physical contest against Rugby New York in Sunday’s feature clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Playing against his old club has been a date circled on the calendar since pre-season for the USA Eagles forward, who has been reinstated at No.8.
He comes back in as one of five changes to the Giltinis’ starting side after missing last weekend’s upbeat 47-7 win over the Dallas Jackals because of a head knock sustained at training.
The men from New York were the first club to beat the Giltinis in their 2021 Championship season. Germishuys knows exactly what to expect from 4pm (PST) on Sunday because he was part of the Rugby New York line-up that day.
“We have to be the more physical and the more disciplined team on Sunday because you know New York will try to dominate the physical aspects again,” Germishuys warned.
“All the Giltinis boys have been fired up for this game for weeks.
“I’m definitely excited to play my old team but friendships are on hold until after we walk off the field.”
Germishuys shared an apartment with RUNY winger Quinn Ngawati when living in New York last year so the “mate v mate” rivalry is real.
Germishuys has been one of the best all season for the 5-3 Giltinis with five tries reflecting the authority of his ball-carrying and go-forward ways.
Major League Rugby’s premier inside centre Billy Meakes also comes back into the starting line-up for this classic West Coast v East Coast duel after a week off resting niggles.
Harrison Goddard is in at scrumhalf while Canadian international forward Corey Thomas and prop Marco Fepulea’i are fresh faces on the bench.
The versatility of Andrew Tuala, a standout against the Jackals, will also be used. Djustice Sears-Duru takes his place at loosehead prop but Tuala will be used as a back-up hooker on Sunday.
On the wing, the progress of USA Sevens rep Adam Channel has been rewarded with a starting spot ahead of USA Eagle Ryan James.
“There were probably more tough selection decisions this week than at any time this season which means more guys are in form and we are getting others back from injury,” Giltinis head coach Stephen Hoiles said.
“New York beat us last time. We know they play a really abrasive style, have a good pack and a dangerous winger in Ed Fidow so we do have to lift our physicality.”
Rugby New York sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 6-2 record and have the experience of 38-year-old former All Blacks scrumhalf Andy Ellis to call on.
LA GILTINIS (v Rugby New York)
1 Djustice Sears-Duru, 2 Joe Taufete’e, 3 Charlie Abel, 4 Luke White, 5 Dave Dennis (capt), 6 Nathan Den Hoedt, 7 Christian Poidevin, 8 Hanco Germishuys, 9 Harrison Goddard, 10 Orene Ai’i, 11 Adam Channel, 12 Billy Meakes, 13 Ben LeSage, 14 John Ryberg, 15 Jordan Trainor
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 18 Marco Fepulea’i, 19 Corey Thomas, 20 Cyrille Cama, 21 Tas Smith, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Tom Mitchell
IN: Hanco Germishuys, Billy Meakes, Corey Thomas, Marco Fepulea’i
OUT: Zach Bonte, Ryan James, Sam Peri, Lindsey Stevens
The Giltinis face Rugby New York at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 4pm (PST) on Sunday. The match will be broadcast live on Bally Sports SoCal and Bally Sports West in Los Angeles. The match can also be viewed live on The Rugby Network internationally.