Gareth Thomas has been appointed to captain Ruddock's side starting with the Lloyds TSB Autumn Series next month and, hopefully, lasting the duration of the coach's tenure, which currently runs until 2005.
Colin Charvis, the incumbent Wales captain, has been asked to take over as vice-captain alongside Thomas and will retain a key leadership role within the squad.
"I have appointed Gareth Thomas as captain and believe he is the best man for the job," said Ruddock. "He is the first name on the team sheet, he has proven tactical ability, extensive experience as a captain at club and regional level and has also led the side at international level before.
"He is a mature and complete player and someone who has the full respect of the management team, his peers and the international rugby public.
"In confirming the appointment of Gareth, it has become increasingly evident that the job of Welsh captain is a highly prized and highly sought after role.
"We had a number of outstanding options for captain and suddenly we witnessed an unprecedented level of enthusiasm for the honoured role of Wales captain."
Charvis will maintain a leadership role within the squad but Ruddock believes this is the best way to get the maximum out of his attributes as a player.
"Gareth and Colin two truly world class players," said Ruddock. "Colin is a highly valued and respected player and hopefully this new role will free him up from off the field duties to do what he does best - play international rugby at the very highest of standards and have a leadership influence on the rest of the team."
Thomas has returned to France and will turn out for new club Toulouse this weekend in their national championship match away at Brive.
"I am delighted to accept the honour of the Welsh captaincy and hope I can repay the faith that Mike and the management team have in me," said Thomas. "I am over the moon, absolutely thrilled to bits. It's always been my ambition to be captain of Wales over a sustained period of time. I believe we've got an incredibly strong squad and now leadership roles have been put in place its time to get down to business starting with South Africa.
"The interview process has been beneficial in a number ways, not only for me but for the others involved, particularly the younger players who have all realised that they are a very important part of the squad and have something to offer in the longer term.
"It was an honour just to get to the interview let alone achieve the role of captain.
'I'm looking forward to working with the whole of the management team and coaching staff on taking the Welsh team forward.
"I'll be looking for help and advice from Mike Ruddock, Scott Johnson, Colin Charvis and the players around me as I settle into my new role.
"Hopefully I'll be getting a lot of help and advice from Colin in particular, he's a great bloke and a great player and his on the field role in the team doesn't really change too much.
"Colin has been a great leader for the squad and I only hope that I can touch on some of the qualities he has brought to the job over the past seasons.
"It is reassuring to think he will be there to back me up and I am very much looking forward to the challenges ahead.
"Regardless of whether I'm captain or not I've never taken my place in any team for granted and my personal priority is to keep on top of my form and to keep my place in the team.
"I'll be a captain for the players, I got the job by being myself and will continue to do so. Working together as a team I think Wales can achieve great things."