World Cup hero Ayumu Goromaru keen to open French doors for Japanese players
Fullback Ayumu Goromaru is hopeful that his move to French club Toulon will pave the way for more Japanese rugby players to play in Europe.
The 30-year-old has signed a one-year contract with the wealthy French side after a lacklustre season with Australian club Queensland Reds.
Goromaru played a key role in Japan’s impressive World Cup campaign last year, which included a stunning victory over South Africa in one of the sport’s biggest upsets.
“Until now, it may have been that France was a place where [Japanese] guys longed to play,” Goromaru was quoted as saying Friday by Kyodo news.
“But by my going, I hope others will make it a goal to play there and at some point it will become a natural destination.”
Goromaru, who is currently nursing a shoulder injury, will have his work cut out at the club, which boasts a number of top internationals including South Africa’s Bryan Habana, Australian Matt Giteau, and New Zealand centre Ma’a Nonu.
“It’s a team that has assembled top players. I’ll aim to take in as much as I can and become a better player,” he added.
Goromaru, who had earlier hinted at retirement in February, added that he wanted to challenge himself with another stint away from his homeland.
“It would be sad if I were to retire without going to France,” he added. “I wanted to have another challenge [abroad]. When I do that perhaps I’ll have different feelings.”