Ruru signs with Blues to continue rapid rise

New Blues halfback Jono Ruru in action for Otago earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images
New Blues halfback Jono Ruru in action for Otago earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images
Otago halfback Jono Ruru has signed with the Blues for next year's Super Rugby season.

Ruru will join current halfbacks Augustine Pulu and Sam Nock in the Blues squad on a one-year deal.

The snapping up of the New Zealand sevens representative by a Super Rugby franchise came as no surprise to Otago coach Corey Brown who expects the No9 to relish his new opportunity.

``He has got a point of difference that a lot of the nines around New Zealand don't have,'' Brown said.

``He is big and very physical and very fit and very strong.''

The physical presence Ruru offers means he is ideally suited to the rigours of the competition, something that was not just noticed by the Blues, but other New Zealand franchises as well.

``The Super Rugby interest was around him because of his point of difference.''

Ruru's rise to securing a Super Rugby contract started with a phone call last year.

Then, the halfback was fourth in line for Hawke's Bay behind their No1, Brad Weber.

Rather than wait his turn to add to his one provincial cap, Ruru made contact with Otago and was soon in Dunedin playing club rugby.

Impressive club form and a season-ending knee injury to then first-choice Otago halfback Josh Renton resulted in Ruru soon running out in blue and gold.

Since his arrival, his Otago coach has seen nothing but improvement in Ruru's game.

``The last couple of years his game has improved a hell of a lot. It's really exciting for Jono to get the opportunity to play at the next level.''

The physicality of Ruru's game that has impressed his provincial coach has also made an impression on Blues coach Tana Umaga.

``Jono is a fierce competitor who we believe has the skill set and the physical attributes we are looking for,'' Umaga said.

Ruru could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The halfback's rise did not stop at provincial level for later last season he pulled on the New Zealand sevens jersey at the Dubai and Cape Town legs of the world series

Although he is settled in Dunedin, he has shown a willingness to move to wherever he can get an opportunity.

The prospect of game time behind concrete Highlanders selections Aaron Smith and back-up Kayne Hammington looked remote if he had been picked up by the local franchise.

However, game time at the Blues looks more of a genuine option for Ruru.

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