Ruru, Rebels raring to make most of Stormers showdown

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

A 9-10 combination is a lot like a relationship in the eyes of Michael Ruru and that means his partnership with Jack Debreczeni can only get better.

Ruru took the reins as Rebels halfback against the Bulls in the absence of Will Genia and while he was hampered by cramps in the second half, he played a prominent hand in running the attack.

His combination with Debreczeni created enough chances to leave the Rebels with just a 21-10 deficit late in the second term but they did not capitalise, slumping to their third straight loss.

While that may have been a hit to the confidence of some sides, Ruru believes there are far bigger and better things to come as his combination with Debreczeni develops.

"It's like a relationship - you don't always hit it off on the first date - it takes time to build," Ruru said from Cape Town.

"You don't find love straight away and it's similar with him and Will (Genia).Michael Ruru has high hopes for his combination with Jack Debreczeni. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"They've started off well but they're getting better and better since they've gone on.

"It's definitely a work in progress but as much as it's a work in progress, we don't exactly have a lot of time.

"So getting those combinations and that fluency is important but we are working hard to do that."

While Ruru said both Adam Coleman and Dane Haylett-Petty were both in high spirits having been forced off against the Bulls due to head knocks, they remain 50-50 chances to line up against the Stormers.

If the star pair are ruled out it will open the door for others and Ruru would like to get the ball in the hands of the team's game breakers more often.

"We have 13 internationals so we're not sure on experience, we have huge game breakers and we haven't really given those people a chance to break games," Ruru said.

"The confidence in the team is still high, considering the club came last last year - only had one win.Ruru and the Rebel didn't take their chances against the Bulls. Photo: AFP"We've had a few losses along the way but you have to lose a few times to rebuild and figure out what you need to do next.

"We have a lot of points in us, defensively we just have to tighten up a little bit."

On a personal front, Ruru remains hopeful a Wallabies call up may come one day, now that he has lived in Australia for four years and is therefore eligible.

While Will Genia has the top halfback job under lock and key, who serves as his deputy is far less certain.

With Nick Phipps having just returned from injury and Joe Powell struggling to make the starting job his own in Canberra, the race is on.

"They know I'm eligible and that I want to play for the Wallabies - I've made that clear," Ruru said.

"I'm not going home to play for the All Blacks or anything like that, I've set my family up in Australia now.

"We will just see what happens."

The Rebels face the Stormers in Cape Town on Friday night, kicking off at 11:00pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.