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Ayumu Goromaru made his second start for the Reds and kicked three penalties on Saturday, scoring nine points for his best tally in Super Rugby as his side fell 29-14 to the Hurricanes.

“I’m happy to be able to put on the No. 15 shirt for the first time in a while, and I’m thankful for it,” said Goromaru, who was handed the chance after regular fullback Karmichael Hunt was injured.

The fullback was dropped from the squad for the first time last week but played the full 80 minutes in New Zealand’s capital, opening the scoring in the fourth minute and giving the visitors a 6-5 lead with his second in the 28th minute from 20 meters out.

The Hurricanes led 12-6 at the break before Goromaru kicked his third three minutes into the second half, but he missed a conversion nine minutes later after Chris Feauai-Sautia crossed to cut the deficit to 17-14.

Japan flanker Hendrik Tui was sin-binned for the Reds right before the half and came off with six minutes to go as the Reds went down to their eighth defeat in 11 games.

“It always feels nicer to be in the match from the start, allowing me to get into it smoothly,” Goromaru added. “I think things just kicked off, I feel I’m starting to match (the team) and beginning to move in a good direction.”

The Reds host Japan’s Sunwolves next weekend, and the 30-year-old said he was “looking forward” to the occasion.

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