Hunt has Super Rugby coach scratching head

Hunt has Super Rugby coach scratching head

The language barrier has not caused too many problems for Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham since Japanese star Ayumu Goromaru’s arrival.

However, Graham is yet to find an answer to the question posed by utility Karmichael Hunt ahead of Saturday night’s Super Rugby clash with Western Force at Suncorp Stadium.

Graham said he finally felt on the same page as a settled Goromaru after confirming Japan’s World Cup star would make his starting debut at fullback this weekend.

But mystery still surrounds where he prefers to play Hunt.

The former NRL and AFL player looks set to get a six week crack at inside centre after being named to replace the injured Henry Teafu.

Centre Teafu has been ruled out for six-to-eight weeks with a high ankle sprain suffered in Saturday’s 30-10 first round loss the NSW Waratahs.

Asked where he would prefer Hunt play, Graham said: “That will be interesting.

“This season will give us more of an indication.

“He has now played a bit of 12 (inside centre), 13 (outside centre) and 15 (fullback) – he’s played everywhere.

“Each week he is getting better because he is learning the game.

“He’s a footballer but his instincts are getting better.”

Graham had only considered Hunt as a fullback ahead of the Super Rugby season.

Hunt came into his own in the No.15 guernsey for Brisbane City during last year’s National Rugby Championship and trained the entire pre-season in the position.

But Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has made it clear he considers Hunt an inside centre.

Hunt moved aside for Goromaru after the Japanese superstar finally settled into the Reds camp.

“He arrived a bit late in the piece and had played a lot of rugby both at the rugby and for his club in Japan,” Graham said of Goromaru who started last week on the bench.

“It was just a matter of him settling in and I think he has done that pretty well.

“His understanding of the game is excellent, defensively he is very good and he kicks the ball exceptionally good – he adds a very good package.”

Graham settled the anxiety of the considerable Japanese media who claimed “Goro” had looked tense in the past week.

“He just turned 30. Maybe it’s because he is getting old,” Graham smiled.

Centre Samu Kerevi was impressed by Goromaru’s bag of tricks, both on and off the field.

“He told me he was 25. He got me there,” Kerevi laughed.

“But he understands a lot. He tries to speak English now which is really funny.

“It can be real hard (communicating).

“But you just have to give a hint of what move is next and he understands straight away.”

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