Hunt shifts to centres for Reds

Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham admits he is no closer to settling on a preferred position for Karmichael Hunt after the code hopper was replaced at fullback by Japan’s Ayumu Goromaru.

Hunt has been shifted to inside centre for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash with the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium, ensuring Goromaru will make his starting debut.

Hunt is an ideal replacement for Henry Taefu, who injured his ankle in Saturday’s 30-10 first-round loss the NSW Waratahs and has been ruled out for six to eight weeks.

Graham hoped to know where best to use Hunt by season’s end.

“That will be interesting,” he said.

“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.

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

Hunt moved aside for Goromaru after Japan’s World Cup star finally settled into the Reds camp.

“He arrived a bit late in the piece and had played a lot of rugby both at the (World Cup) 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.”

Queensland Reds: Ayumu Goromaru, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi, Karmichael Hunt, Eto Nabuli, Jake McIntyre, Nick Frisby, Jake Schatz, Curtis Browning, Hendrik Tui, Rob Simmons (capt), Caderyn Neville, Greg Holmes, Saia Faingaa, Ben Daley. Res: Andrew Ready, Sef Faagase, Sam Talakai, Ben Matwijow, Michael Gunn, Scott Gale, Sam Greene, Junior Laloifi.

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