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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."

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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