Cult star Goromaru set for Toulon move
Tokyo - Japanese World Cup star Ayumu
Goromaru is expected to join French side Toulon next season, reports said on
Tuesday, following a low-key stint with the Reds.
The fullback, who is known for his
distinctive goal-kicking stance and has a huge following in Japan, will likely
play in the French Top 14 from August, the Sports Nippon tabloid said in its
Japan's Kyodo News said the 30-year-old has
already reached a basic agreement and a final deal could be announced this
month with the three-time European champions.
Goromaru's parent club Yamaha Jubilo was
not immediately available for comment. The Reds denied earlier reports in
February that he was set to move to Toulon.
Goromaru shot to stardom after he kicked 24
points in the Brave Blossoms' 34-32 stunning upset win over South Africa at the
World Cup last year.
Some media reports rated him as the world's
best paid player after he snubbed Japan's new Sunwolves team to join Super
Rugby rivals the Reds this season.
But Goromaru has struggled for game time
and made only his second start in Saturday's 29-14 loss to the Hurricanes,
landing three penalties.
Such is Goromaru's profile in Japan that he
had a life-sized bronze statue and had a baby giraffe named after him, as well
as being given the title "Master of Ninjas".
Fans have also flocked to a three metre
high Buddhist statue in Gifu Prefecture because its clasped hands look like
those of their hero when he lines up kicks.