The mystery over where Ayumu Goromaru will play rugby next season intensified Thursday with a Yamaha Jubilo source saying the club was still waiting to hear from the Japan fullback.
Reports earlier in the week suggested the 30-year-old had decided to leave the Reds at the end of the current Super Rugby season and head to France to play for Toulon, meaning his time with Jubilo had come to an end.
But the source said as far as he and the club were aware Goromaru was still technically employed by Yamaha.
“We are under the impression that Goromaru still has a contract with us,” the source said. “We have had no response from Goromaru and are waiting for a reply from him. One option is he will go to Toulon. Another is that he will come back and play for Yamaha. He has still not decided.”
Either way it looks as if his time at the Reds will end in August, with a source in Australia saying he won’t be playing for the club next year.
Part of the confusion arises because the Waseda University graduate is employed by Yamaha as a company worker not a rugby player.
“His contract as a rugby player is with the Reds,” the source said.
Back in February when rumors of the move first materialized, the Reds denied Goromaru was leaving the club. But since then the Brave Blossoms No. 15 has seen very limited playing time.
A move to Europe would not only mean Goromaru leaving Yamaha, it would also prevent him from playing for the Sunwolves next year.
The Reds — with Goromaru and fellow Japan international Hendrik Tui in the starting XV — take on Japan’s Super Rugby franchise this weekend in Brisbane, Australia, and the potential move to France has overshadowed much of the build-up with a Reds spokesman forced to tell journalists that no comment would be made on the matter.