Super Rugby
Japan star Ayumu Goromaru set for Reds debut against Brumbies
Sam Bruce
February 8, 2016
Reds have high hopes for Goromaru

The Master of Ninjas has arrived in Brisbane - and he can't wait to play Super Rugby.

Japanese sensation Ayumu Goromaru, Queensland Reds' star off-season recruit, touched down on Saturday morning before taking part in his first training session at Ballymore on Monday afternoon.

He was greeted by a small group of Japanese fans and the airport at the weekend and then fronted a packed media conference, telling both Australian and Japanese media his move to Brisbane was motivated by both family and career.

"Before the American game at the World Cup, I spoke with (then Japan coach) Eddie Jones about the Reds," Goromaru said via an interpreter.

"I had thoughts about my family, I would be able to spend more time with my family in an established place at the Reds.

"And firstly for my rugby development, it was important for me to get overseas and play some overseas rugby."

Goromaru lit up last year's World Cup, particularly during the Brave Blossom's shock victory over South Africa on the opening weekend - a result hailed as one of the greatest upsets in the history of sport.

He finished the tournament with 58 points - the most of any player not to feature in the quarter-final stage - as rugby reached dizzying new heights in Japan.

"There were people in Japan who were not fans of rugby beforehand, but after watching the World Cup and watching Japan's performances there, they've definitely come on board and are fans from now on," Goromaru said.

While Goromaru excelled for Japan at full-back during the World Cup, he will battle former NRL star Karmichael Hunt for the custodian role at the Reds.

© JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

But the 56-Test veteran's radar-like goal-kicking could see him get the nod, especially with the Reds having struggled considerably in that area in recent times.

"It was noted that we didn't kick well as a side last year, I think our average was below 60 per cent," Reds coach Richard Graham said.

"So having a guy that kicks anywhere between, I think, 85 and 94 per cent over the last two season is fairly valuable.

"A lot of the games that we've lost recently have been small margins, you know inside seven (points) -- having a guy that can kick goals is important."

Goromaru will have the chance to make his Queensland debut on Friday night after he was included on an extended bench for a pre-season trial against the Brumbies.

It's may well be a relatively short introduction to Australian rugby after Hunt impressed in the Reds' 31-3 loss to the Crusaders at the weekend, the under-pressure Graham in a position where can afford not to rush the Japanese star ahead of time.

"Yeah what it means I guess importantly for us is that we've got two quality full-back options," Graham said.

"I thought Karmichael played really well the other night in his first trial and has trained really well throughout the pre-season.

"Goro obviously played very well at the World Cup and on the world stage; you know he joined us Saturday morning so today will be his first training session and we'll just see over the next couple of days how he trains.

"There's absolutely no doubt it's a good thing for the Reds."

Reds side to face Brumbies:

Karmichael Hunt, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi, Henry Taefu, Eto Nabuli, Jake McIntyre, Nick Frisby; Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Lolo Fakaosilea, Rob Simmons (C), Cadeyrn Neville, Greg Holmes, Andrew Ready, Ben Daley. Replacements: Saia Fainga'a, Sef Fa'agase, Sam Talakai, Ben Matwijow, Curtis Browning, Hendrik Tui, Scott Gale, Sam Greene, Junior Laloifi, Campbell Magnay, Ayumu Goromaru.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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