June International Tours

Ruddock sends a warning to Wales


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Mike Ruddock has warned the Wales Rugby Union that only internal discontent can stop Grand Slam champions Wales conquering the world.

Ruddock was in charge of Wales when they won the Grand Slam in 2005 which was followed by disappointment after disappointment.

Ruddock now coaches Worcester Warriors told the BBC’s Sport Wales programme he hopes the WRU have “learned from their mistakes”.

Shortly after Wales’ last Grand Slam Ruddock was forced out by the players and Welsh rugby was in civil war. =

“What could create difficulty if it breaks up from within and the coaches don’t pull together, that certainly happened in 2005.” Ruddock said revealing the coaching split which culminated in his departure as Wales coach.

Ruddock says that he believes the class of 2008 can be stronger than 2005 and they could go on to beat world champions South Africa in South Africa and then New Zealand later in the year.

“The most important thing is the head coach has an opportunity to pick his own coaching team,” said Ruddock.

“Everyone must be on the same wavelength and pulling together in the same direction.

“I think everyone has learned from 2005 and the WRU give a vote of confidence for the coaching team.

“There seems to be harmony now because ultimately the head coach has got the coaches he wants on board to take the team forward.

“It’s important for the WRU to nail these guys down for the foreseeable future, that didn’t really happen in 2005 but I’m sure lessons have been learned.”

Ruddock was hinting at the fact that Wales Asst. coach Shaun Edwards only has a verbal contract with the WRU and the Wasps head coach has told Wales rugby chiefs he wants to remain as Gatland’s assistant.

“Shaun Edwards is a great capture for Welsh rugby,” said Ruddock.

“England must be kicking themselves as he is doing so well in Wales but it is important Shaun is made to feel there is a long-term coaching pathway for him in Wales.

“The coaching team together have had a big impact and have ensured Wales have gone on to fulfil their potential.”

“Their success hasn’t surprised me because they have a lot of fine players,” said Ruddock.

“Many players this year were involved in 2005 but the younger guys have added greater depth and quality to that squad.

Wales in 2008 has a number of players who were not there in 2005 like James Hook who is said to have watched tech last Grand Slam on a bar stool.

“The emergence of James Hook, Alun Wyn Jones has developed superbly and Lee Byrne is a better player now.

“Wales are a lot stronger squad now than in 2005 but the question is why they didn’t do well before?

“Overall it looks a very healthy picture for Welsh rugby, a golden era of players possibly.

“Even though Ireland have won Triple Crowns, they have not made an impact in a World Cup or nailed a Grand Slam.

“And you could argue this is their golden era as players like Shane Horgan, Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy are a once in a lifetime crop.

“They’ve had a certain amount of success but you could argue they haven’t gone the whole way and crossed the line to the very top level.

“But Wales have won two Grand Slams and have a great opportunity for sustained success as they’ve a good and very young squad with a great manager.”




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