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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 Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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