Melbourne Rebels halfback Michael Ruru has put his hand up as a surprise candidate for a Wallabies jersey when Michael Cheika’s side take on Ireland in June.
The Wallabies halfback stocks looked set to take a huge hit when vice-captain Will Genia left the field injured against the Crusaders last weekend.
Scans revealed a grade two hamstring injury, which will keep Genia from the field for at least one month.
Despite the injury, Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham said he is “100 percent confident that he’ll [Genia] be right to go” come Test time.
“Without putting a time frame on it, I think there’s potential playing some Super Rugby before we get to the Test season,” Larkham added.
“But we’ll have to wait and see how the rehab progresses.”
Should Genia’s rehab not go to plan, head coach Michael Cheika will have to look elsewhere to fill the No. 9 jersey.
Ruru – older brother of Blues halfback Jonathan – will start for the Rebels against the Brumbies this week and until Genia’s return, presenting the perfect opportunity to stake his claim for national selection.
The New Zealand-born 27-year-old became eligible for the Wallabies last year after shifting across the Tasman in 2014 to join the Perth Spirit and later the Western Force.
He’ll have to beat out the likes of Waratahs Nick Phipps and Jake Gordon and incumbent Wallabies backup Joe Powell.
“At the moment there’s a few guys putting their hands up,” Larkham said.
“Down in Melbourne there’s obviously Michael Ruru, who has been on the radar for a while so it’ll be interesting to watch his next couple of rounds.
“Then there’s Nick Phipps who is coming back into the Waratahs set up, Jake Gordon’s been playing some really good football there.
“Joe Powell’s sort of the incumbent from the tour last year and he’s the back up as well.
“If you look for experience you’d look at Nick Phipps and Michael Ruru’s probably the next oldest in terms of age experience.”
Ruru laid out his international ambitions last month.
“They know I’m eligible,” Ruru said.
“They know I want to play for the Wallabies, so I’ve made that clear.
“I’m not going home to play for the All Blacks. I’ve set my family up in Australia now, so international rugby is the next step for me and, for me, that’s with the Wallabies.”
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