Ayumu Goromaru has been dumped from the Queensland Reds squad for their Super Rugby clash with the Crusaders in Christchurch despite a spot in the backline opening up due to Samu Kerevi’s hand injury.
It was anticipated the Japanese Test star was to become the Reds’ first-choice fullback when he joined the franchise in the off-season.
But Goromaru has struggled to click with the team, relegated to a bench role behind in-form No.15 Karmichael Hunt and playing just 163 minutes of rugby to date this season.
Queensland’s coaching staff have decided to bite the bullet ahead of Friday night’s daunting match-up against the Crusaders, axing Goromaru from the match-day 23 to allow more backline flexibility following Kerevi’s broken hand last weekend.
Highly-rated Reds under-20s prospect Campbell Magnay has been brought into the starting side for the injured Kerevi, while Chris Feauai-Sautia is back from an ankle injury to take his place on the wing, moving Junior Laloifi to the bench.
“(Magnay) has already played a handful of games of Super Rugby, so he’s comfortable at this level,” Reds interim co-coach Matt O’Connor said.
“He was outstanding throughout the 20s program and played outside centre throughout their championship run.
“He’s trained with us all season so he certainly deserves an opportunity. We have a lot of faith in him.”
Halfback Nick Frisby has also been named for what will be his 50th appearance in Super Rugby.
“He has stepped up admirably this year and he’s getting better and better each game,” O’Connor said.
Queensland: Karmichael Hunt, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Campbell Magnay, Anthony Fainga’a, Eto Nabuli, Jake McIntyre, Nick Frisby, Curtis Browning, Liam Gill, Hendrik Tui, Rob Simmons, Ben Matwijow, Greg Holmes, Andrew Ready, James Slipper (c). Reserves: Saia Fainga’a, Sef Fa’agase, Sam Talakai, Cadeyrn Neville, Michael Gunn, James Tuttle, Sam Greene, Junior Laloifi.