Emerging NSW Waratahs prop Harry Johnson-Holmes has gone from playing a bass guitar to banging out a very different rhythm in Super Rugby.
HJH, as he’s known to his teammates, has had a tough initiation, coming off the bench to lock horns with strong South African and Argentinian scrums and the Rebels’ star-studded pack in his first handful of games.
He helped to set up a match-winning try after the siren on his debut and has maintained a spot in the 23-strong matchday-squad through the Tahs’ first four games.
The 21-year-old front-rower didn’t anticipate getting those opportunities so early in his career and next week could face a Brumbies side containing several Test forwards.
For the Sydney University economics student it’s a different learning experience and a far cry from his previous gig of playing in an indie rock band.
“I opened up to the team earlier in the season and let them know of my dark past of being in a band in Newcastle, where I played bass guitar, where we played at local venues,” Johnson-Holmes said.
“I didn’t even sing that much in the band but (they said) ‘you’ve got to sing a couple of songs’ and I’ve stitched myself up ever since.
“(I had) a bit different hair, very flashy button up T-shirts , but that’s behind me now, I’m on the straight and narrow, just focusing on my footy.
“With the damage I’ve had to my face over the past couple of games, I don’t think I’ve got a face for the stage anymore!”
Training with and against three Wallabies props has helped steel Johnson-Holmes for the step up to Super Rugby.
“Every training session I’m packing against (Wallaby props) Sekope Kepu, Tom Robertson and Paddy Ryan,” he said.
‘”They are all world class players and every training session turns into a bit of a Test match there with the likes of those.
“It definitely puts you in a good head space coming into the weekend when you have got teams like the Brumbies, who boast a good pack.”
The Waratahs take on the Brumbies on Saturday March 31, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets atbrumbies.com.au.