Japanese Test star Ayumu Goromaru will reportedly leave the Queensland Reds at the end of the Super Rugby season to join French glamour club Toulon.
Kyodo News reports the 30-year-old, who is preparing to play for the Reds against Japan’s Super Rugby team the Sunwolves on Saturday night in Brisbane, is in the final stage of negotiations with the three-time European champions.
It is believed a deal to join Toulon next season could be announced before the end of the month, with Goromaru having denied reports in February that he had already agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the French powerhouse.
Goromaru has struggled for gametime with the Reds, but a groin injury to first-choice fullback Karmichael Hunt has opened up the possibility that he may start against the Sunwolves.
That would be a dream outcome for the Queensland Rugby Union, who have sold thousands of jerseys and memberships to Japanese fans off the back of his immense popularity.
However, Hunt is a chance to recover in time and may relegate cult figure Goromaru, who played the full 80 minutes in Queensland’s 29-14 loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday, back to the reserves bench, or even out of the squad altogether.
The Reds will be expected to book their third win of the season against the Sunwolves, who drew 17-17 with the Stormers at the weekend and will be making their first ever trip to Australia.