Super 18

Super Rugby 2016

I’m no Rugby World Cup fluke: Brave Blossoms star Ayumu Goromaru out to prove talent at Queensland Reds

Japan fullback wants to prove his performance in England wasn’t an accident after signing deal with Australian Super Rugby team for 2016 season

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 November, 2015, 11:56pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 November, 2015, 7:38pm

The Brave Blossoms' superstar fullback Ayumu Goromaru said yesterday that he expected to show the world that his Rugby World Cup performance was not a fluke, as he heads to Australia on a one-year contract.

Goromaru, who led Japan's shock 34-32 defeat of South Africa at the World Cup, signed with the Queensland Reds in the 2016 Super Rugby tournament.

I will be starting from zero and want to enjoy each and every challenge. I will be in an environment where I can play high level rugby
Ayumu Goromaru

Named in the just-concluded Rugby World Cup's "Dream Team", Goromaru joins a Reds squad that finished 13th overall on the Super Rugby table and fourth in the Australian conference, not managing to advance to the finals series last season.

"I'll do my best to show everyone in Japan that I can compete on the world stage," Goromaru said yesterday.

"I will be starting from zero and want to enjoy each and every challenge. I will be in an environment where I can play high level rugby. The last four years of training have been the hardest."

The 29-year-old will head to Australia at the end of the 2016 Top League season in Japan in February, departing after playing his career in his homeland.

His Reds deal is a blow to the new Tokyo-based Sunwolves Super Rugby franchise that is building a squad for 2016.

The addition of a Japanese player of Goromaru's skill, stature and popularity would have been a coup for the Sunwolves' first season in the competition.

"My family can come with me [to Australia] and it will be a good experience for my children," said Goromaru.

The Reds hope Goromaru will bolster their back three and goal-kicking - something that the Waseda University graduate showed he excelled at in England.

"Ayumu has been regarded by many observers as one of the stand-out fullbacks of the Rugby World Cup but, as importantly, he has been performing at a consistently high level for Yamaha Jubilo in the Japan League for many years," said Reds executive general manager Daniel Herbert on Wednesday.

"His recent goal-kicking percentage sits at or above 80 per cent - an area in which the Reds are looking to improve in 2016."