Reds drop Goromaru

SYDNEY – Japan fullback Ayumu Goromaru has been dropped by the Queensland Reds for their clash with the Canterbury Crusaders tonight, the first time the World Cup hero has been dumped from the matchday squad in a humbling debut season in Super Rugby.

Goromaru was considered a signing coup for the Brisbane-based side after his World Cup performances last year in England ignited unprecedented interest in rugby in his homeland.

But the 30-year-old has struggled to cement his place, with Karmichael Hunt mostly preferred at fullback as the Reds lurch through a season of just two victories to date. Goromaru has not started a match since Matt O’Connor and Nick Stiles succeeded Richard Graham as interim co-coaches after the second week of the season. The Reds beat the Cheetahs 30-17 last week with Goromaru unused off the bench. He has played a total of 176 minutes in six appearances, according to statistics from governing body SANZAAR.

“He’s disappointed, obviously,” O’Connor told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.

“But he understands it’s a team-first mentality and we’ve got to pick the best 23 guys for this weekend.

“It’s one game and it gives us a little bit better coverage on the bench.”

O’Connor refused to be drawn on whether he thought Goromaru’s high-profile recruitment had gone to plan.

“That depends what the plan was,” O’Connor said.

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