Japan’s Rugby World Cup hero Ayumu Goromaru will join the Reds in 2016 after signing with the club for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
The 29-year-old full-back became a household name in Japan and turned the Rugby world on its head last month when he led his nation’s shock 34-32 win over South Africa – with the match being described as the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history.
Goromaru scored 24 points in that match and twice received man-of-the-match honours at the tournament. He has since been labeled a 'national hero' in Japan after spearheading his nation’s World Cup campaign in which they secured a record three wins.
The 2016 season will be Goromaru’s first in Super Rugby. He has spent his entire professional Rugby career playing in Japan’s Top League, while also forging an impressive Test Rugby résumé, with 56 Test caps and 708 points – making him Japan’s all-time leading points scorer.
Executive General Manager – Reds, Daniel Herbert, said Goromaru would be a welcome addition to the Reds.
"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 Júbilo in the Japan League for many years," said Herbert.
"Both of our assistant coaches, Nick Stiles and Matt O'Connor, have coached against Ayumu in Japan and have said he is a player that worries any opposition. His recent goal-kicking percentage sits at or above 80% – an area in which the Reds are looking to improve in 2016. He is a quality player who will add depth to our outside backs for 2016.
"The QRU thanks the Yamaha Júbilo club for their support in Ayumu’s joining the Reds for the 2016 Super Rugby season."
Goromaru said he was looking forward to bringing his talents to Brisbane and testing himself in Super Rugby.
"I have followed the Queensland Reds for many years and am looking forward to joining the squad and meeting my new teammates. Following my experiences at the Rugby World Cup, I’m looking forward to the chance of proving myself at Super Rugby level."
Goromaru will have an opportunity to play his countrymen in Round 13 of the 2016 Super Rugby competition, when the Reds host the new Japanese franchise, The Sunwolves, at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 21 May.
Goromaru will join the Reds at the conclusion of the Japanese Top League competition in early February 2016.