In the frenzy that has been whipped up at Ballymore with the arrival of Japanese Test fullback Ayumu Goromaru, the return of his international teammate Hendrik Tui could have easily been missed.
New Zealand-born Tui returned to Brisbane this week, ahead of his second Super Rugby season with the Reds, but things are very different this time around.
For starters, he is joined by another Japanese Test player in Goromaru, but more importantly Tui comes to Queensland ready to step straight into match play.
The 28-year-old broke his leg in the final match of his 2014-15 season, adding to the Reds’ then lengthy injury list before even pulling on a jersey.
A year on, he is preparing to walk straight into a 26-man squad for the Reds’ second trial against the Brumbies on Friday night with a point to prove.
“Last year for me was a bit frustrating, coming in injured and I didn’t get a good chance to show what i could do on the field,” he said.
“(I’m) coming in fresh, injury free and I’m looking forward to showing what I have and can contribute to the team.”
Asked what exactly he could bring to the team, Tui said his energy and communication would be critical.
That communication was already coming in handy this week with his Japanese Test mate Goromaru joining the group.
Tui helped his World Cup teammate ease his way into the Reds session and understand the way the team functioned.
Tui said Goromaru would be a valuable addition to the Reds side, bringing more composure to the team.
“Goro he was one of the leaders in our Japan squad last year so you can expect him to be relaxed, be composed but also show that leadership on the field,” he said.
“He shows leadership through his actions mostly the way he plays and stuff it inspires the team.”
Goromaru is one of a handful of Japanese players having a crack at making a Super Rugby splash and Tui said he hoped more followed.
“I think it’s a positive for Japanese Rugby that all those players want to become better rugby players and there’s no better place to get that experience than Super Rugby,” he said.
“Super Rugby is one of the best competitions in the world so they’ll gain a lot from it and they can bring it back to Japan and ...motivate other Japanese players to do the same.”
Tui will come off the bench for the Reds against the Brumbies on Friday night.