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Fullback Ayumu Goromaru on Thursday was left off the Queensland Reds’ squad for the first time ahead of Friday’s game against the Crusaders.

Goromaru, one of Japan’s heroes at last year’s Rugby World Cup in England, has failed to make an impact in the first nine weeks of Super Rugby, making just one start in nine games and being benched for eight.

Reds interim co-coach Matt O’Connor insisted recruiting Goromaru was not a mistake and said that he understood that the team comes first.

“I wouldn’t say it was a mistake. It was about making sure that we had a quality goalkicker in the squad, given the losses of Quade (Cooper) and James O’Connor last year,” O’Connor was quoted as saying by the Brisbane Times.

“You need guys to kick goals and thankfully Jake (McIntyre) has stepped up and done that for us.”

O’Connor added: “He (Goromaru) is disappointed, obviously. But he understands it’s a team-first mentality and we’ve got to pick the best 23 guys for this weekend. It’s one game and it gives us a little bit better coverage on the bench.”

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