Ruru to unleash inner "pig dog" against Bulls: Wessels

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Rebels coach Dave Wessels is expecting halfback Michael Ruru to unleash his "inner pig dog" in place of Will Genia, as Melbourne prepare to take on the Bulls.

Ruru is as feisty customer at halfback and Wessels believes that's exactly what his side needs as they piece together an attack without their chief playmaker at the base of the breakdown.

"Mike has been chomping at the bit for a couple of weeks now to try and get his start," Wessels said from South Africa.

"Everyone knows what a good player Mike is and what a competitor he is.

"In some ways, Mike is the kind of player we need in Pretoria because he has a bit of pig dog about him.

"That's a tough thing to get and (Ruru) enjoys it - I've got a lot of faith in Mike."Michael Ruru will fire the Rebels pack up against the Bulls. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyRuru's inclusion in the starting XV is one of three changes Wessels has made, with the other notable inclusion star Wallaby Reece Hodge.

He returns to inside centre and will pair up with Tom English, with Billy Meakes relegated to the pine.

That was a decision based on the pair's work rate in midfield, according to Wessels.

"I think out of those two centres we get a real work rate," he said.

"They were really impressive in the first few games together and their work rate helps a lot of the stuff we talk about around intensity.

"Reece will give us that real intensity we are looking for so that's the reason we've gone for that pairing this week."Anaru Rangi has kept his starting spot thanks to some strong form. Photo: Getty ImagesAnaru Rangi has also kept his spot ahead of young gun Jordan Uelese - a result of the former's superb form as the starting hooker.

"Anaru is one of those guys who started us with the Force 18 months ago and he weighed 130kg - he's down to 108kg now," Wessels said.

"It takes a fair mental application for a guy to make that kind of physical change.

"He's retaining his spot through his own performances it's not something Jordy is not doing.

"Jordy was unfortunate to get injured but it gave that opportunity to a guy in his sport and unfortunately for Jordy that guy is going really well.

"Now he has to fight and try to win it back which is what every coach wants."

The Rebels will take on the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday night, kicking off at 11:05pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.