Ayumu Goromaru (Japanese: 五郎丸 歩 Hepburn: Gorōmaru Ayumu?, born March 1, 1986 in Fukuoka, Japan) is a Japanese rugby union player who plays at fullback for Yamaha Júbilo in the Top League as well as the Japan national rugby union team.
Goromaru made his international test debut against Uruguay in April 2005 as a 19-year-old and as the second youngest player to play for Japan of all time (he is now the third youngest).After his second cap against Romania where he set up a try The Japan Times called him the “face of the future” and he was one of the most highly rated young Japanese players. However, after just 2 more caps that year he was dropped when Jean-Pierre Élissalde replaced Mitsutake Hagimoto as coach in June 2005. He didn’t return to the side for 4 years until 2009 with John Kirwan now as coach, but still didn’t manage to cement a place in the side and didn’t feature in Kirwan’s plans for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
When Eddie Jones took over as coach after the World Cup, Goromaru was recalled for a third chance at international rugby 18 months since his last cap, following good form for Yamaha Jubilo where he was the leading points scorer in the Top League and named in the team of the season.
On his return to international rugby he scored 62 points in his first two matches against Kazakhstan and the UAE and impressed in attack scoring 4 tries whilst also creating for others. He went onto finally cement his place in the side playing every match for Japan in 2012, and he finished as the leading points scorer of the calendar year with 158 in 9 matches. In November 2012, his goal kicking proved crucial to Japan’s first wins in Europe against Romania and Georgia where he scored 36 points over the two matches.
In the 2012/2013 season, Goromaru was again the leading points scorer in the Top League and named in the team of the season for the second year in a row. In Japan’s first international of 2013, Goromaru scored 36 points in a match against the Philippines the third highest points total in a match by a Japanese player of all time and the biggest in international rugby for 7 years.
However a dip in form followed at the start of the 2013 Pacific Nations Cup and then he missed 3 crucial kicks and missed a historic opportunity to beat Wales in the 1st Test in their series in June 2013. However he bounced back immediately and delivered a 100% kicking success rate which saw him named man of the match in the 2nd Test where Japan completed their first ever win over Wales.
Goromaru was instrumental in Japan’s historic defeat of South Africa in the 2015 World Cup, scoring 24 points (one try, two conversions, five penalties), a game widely described as the greatest upset in the history of rugby union.