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Royals use international flavour for Canberra rugby season

Royals players Steve Sioni, Brendan Woodward, Sokai Tai, Pedro Rolando and Harumichi Tatekawa.

Royals players Steve Sioni, Brendan Woodward, Sokai Tai, Pedro Rolando and Harumichi Tatekawa. Photo: Melissa Adams

They communicate with nods, hand signals and "the language of rugby".

Royals coach Russell Ingram is banking on a multicultural five-man combination to help them chase an elusive premiership this year.

But while it's got the makings of the start to a joke, the Royals' Tongan, Samoan, Argentinean, Japanese and Australian combination is confident it can break down the language barrier to chase John I Dent Cup success.

The Royals' back row and halves combination boasts worldwide experience.

Blindside flanker Soakai Tai - a two-time competition best and fairest winner - is from Tonga.

Recruit Steve Sioni is from Samoa, scrumhalf Pedro Rolando is from Argentina and flyhalf and Brumbies Japanese recruit Harumichi Tatekawa is the chief playmaker.

Canberra junior Brendan Woodward rounds out a five-man combo, describing it as a "multicultural sandwich" and admits it's almost impossible to nail down the language of choice.

When Tatekawa arrived at Brumbies training he needed a translator to help him communicate with his new teammates.

"They'll be speaking the language of rugby, that's for sure," Ingram said.

"They'll be fine. But I guess we'll find out when they play. If it clicks, it will be pretty dynamic. But that's what we don't know, we haven't played a lot of footy together.

"There won't be too many words spoken, it will be more about calling plays and even though they speak different languages, they understand that."

The multicultural line-up will have to wait a week before testing themselves in Canberra's premier division.

The opening round of the season on Saturday was cancelled as the ACT government closed Canberra's sports venues because of wet weather.

It means Royals will have to delay their bid for premiership redemption after losing the grand final to Tuggeranong last season.

There are just six Royals players from the grand final who are fit to start the season.

Openside flanker Woodward missed most of last season after dislocating his thumb in a game against Queanbeyan.

His left thumb was so badly dislocated, it was turned around and facing him. But after it popped back into position, Woodward pushed through pain to attend his 21st birthday party before going to hospital for surgery the next day.

He's the only Australian in the Royals combination from blindside flanker to flyhalf.

"I had to have a full thumb reconstruction. I had three months in a cast and another month-and-a-half of strength and rehab, but now it's great and it doesn't bother me at all," said Woodward, who's studying to be a paramedic.

"I don't remember how it happened, I just remember seeing my thumb and seeing it wasn't pointing the way it should. I didn't think it was right, it was pointing towards my body.

"It will be an experiment with the [international back row], but most people in the team are pretty good with English. Once you're in a blue jersey it doesn't matter what nationality you are or what language you speak.

"I feel like I'm in a multicultural sandwich, but it doesn't bother me."

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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