Super Rugby


Tui excited to have World Cup teammate join him at Ballymore

The St.George Queensland Reds inaugural Japanese import Hendrik Tui is excited to make his return to Super Rugby this Friday night in the Reds’ pre-season match against the Brumbies, after being named in the reserves. 

Tui won’t be the only Japanese international taking to the Ballymore pitch this week, with his 2015 Rugby World Cup teammate Ayumu Goromaru named in the squad after his arrival in Australia last Saturday morning. 

While Tui was part of the Reds squad in 2015, his debut was delayed until the later stages of the season after injury hampered his introduction to Super Rugby. After playing for his Japanese club side Suntory Sungoliath following the World Cup, Tui is happy to be back at Ballymore. 

“It’s really good to be back,” Hendrik said. 

“The boys have been working hard and I’m getting back into the rhythm of things and looking forward to Friday night.

“Last year was frustrating coming into the squad injured which meant I didn’t have a good chance to show what I can do. I’m fresh and injury free this year and keen to contribute to the team.” 

Tui has played a total of 36 Test for Japan, playing the majority of his matches alongside new Reds teammate Goromaru, who he said he was happy to have join him at Ballymore. 

“I was happy for Ayumu. For a Japanese player to come overseas and play Super Rugby in an environment he isn’t used to, it’s very different. The success from the World Cup has given him the confidence to make the move. 

“He is coming towards the later stages of his career and I think the timing of him accepting this challenge is perfect.

“Goromaru was one of the leaders in our World Cup squad and you can expect him to be composed and show leadership on the field for the Reds. He shows leadership through action and the way he plays, which will help inspire the team.” 

Goromaru’s signing at the Reds has attracted a sea of media attention from his home country, with his first press conference at Ballymore being live streamed onto Japanese news via Reds TV. 

This sort of media attention around a Japanese player was unheralded prior to the Rugby World Cup, with the performances of the Japanese team in England attracting a new fan base for the game. 

Goromaru however isn’t the first Japanese player to grace the Super Rugby competition, with Highlanders scrumhalf Fumiaki Tanaka and former Melbourne Rebels hooker and now Sunwolves captain Shota Horie having come before him.

Tui believes the introduction of Japanese players to Super Rugby is beneficial to the development of Rugby in Japan. 

“I think it’s a positive for Japanese Rugby. All the players who have made the transition want to become better Rugby players and there is no better place to get than experience than Super Rugby. They can then take their learnings back to Japan and help motivate other Japanese players.” 

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