His first competitive match in charge was against Argentina, and ended in a 50-44 defeat. On the same tour they beat Argentina 30-25 in the second Test before suffering a heavy 53-18 defeat in the heat of South Africa.
Ruddock promised Wales's fans a "bigger, stronger, faster" Wales team for the next matches. He said: "We're obviously disappointed we lost the last Test as poorly as we did, but even a top athlete would struggle to compete well in Argentina and then go to South Africa and compete well there."
Wales did improve in these next Tests, despite losing two out of four matches. A narrow 36-38 defeat to South Africa, and a 25-26 defeat to the All Blacks. They beat Romania 66-7, and crushed Japan 98-0 at the Millennium Stadium. These improved performances gave hope to the Welsh nation as the 2005 RBS Six Nations drew closer.
In the build-up to the opening game against England, Wales were given the tag of favourites and Ruddock said: "England are an impressive side no matter what and to suggest that we are anything but underdogs against the World Champions is more than ridiculous. It's cloud cuckoo land stuff."
Ruddock watched with a wry smile as his side upset the odds and registered a famous 11-9 win thanks to a last-gasp Gavin Henson penalty. Wales now believed that the RSB Six Nations title was within their reach.
Ruddock was upset after the game however, due to a kick from England player Danny Grewcock on Dwayne Peel. After praising Wales for the victory, he said of Grewcock: "I think there's a need for the incident involving Danny Grewcock to be looked at. We're not saying it was deliberate or intentional, but it was certainly clumsy."
Wales moved on from the victory, to beat Italy, Scotland and France. This set up a match against Ireland at the Millennium Stadium. A win for Wales would clinch them a first Grand Slam in 27 years. A 32-20 win sent Wales into Grand Slam fever, and a delighted Ruddock said of his players: "We've given them a licence to thrill."
Of the victory, he said: "It's been a long time coming and we've had to wait for it, but it has been worth the wait. A lot of these guys are too young to remember some of those days of the '70s, but it brought back those memories.
"The players really dug in. At times it has been tough for them but they are an amazing bunch and have worked hard so hard for this moment. Now we've got the Grand Slam - and it's brilliant!"
This amazing Grand Slam victory made Ruddock and his players national heroes with thousands of Welsh rugby fans. He was rewarded for his success with an OBE. He said of the OBE: "I am pleased to have been named in the New Year's honours list and I accept this on behalf of the entire Welsh team and management. It's not about me, but is a reflection of the success the team enjoyed last season."
However, while there is still plenty to play for in the remainder of the 2006 RBS Six Nations Championship, there will be no repeat of the Grand Slam heroics as an injury-ravaged Wales went to Twickenham and went down 47-13.
Ruddock pointed to the controversial sin binning of Martyn Williams as the moment which turned the tide in England's favour, calling it the "crucial moment." He added: "With a 14-man Wales team they really put us to the sword and ran away with it - and that really hurts."
Despite losing, Ruddock claimed that the team had actually done certain things better this year than they had last year, saying: "Incredibly I thought there were a lot of things there that were better. For example, our scrum was a lot better and our line-out - although with some mishaps - was overall better."
In what turned out to be Ruddock's last match, Wales faced Scotland at the Millennium Stadium. A vastly improved Wales performance, aided by a red card to Scottish player Scott Murray, saw Wales cruise to a 28-18 victory.
After the game a delighted Ruddock said: "We went out to try and reproduce the sort of rugby we played against them at Murrayfield last season…we lost our way a little bit with some disciplinary problems and gave away too many penalties but it was a good team performance."
This proved to be his last game in charge, and on 14th February, 2006, Mike Ruddock announced his intentions to leave his post.
"After consultations with my family, I have made the decision to stand down," said Ruddock. "This has been a tough decision to make, but I have decided to put my family first.
"What I have found during my two years as coach is that this position is 'more than a job'. That has meant I have spent long periods away from my family, in camp and on overseas tours.
"As a consequence, I felt the intense build-up to next year's World Cup would mean more time away from my family. That is something which, on reflection, I would like to avoid."
MIKE RUDDOCK FACTFILE
As a player he captained Wales U16 in 1975 and was a Wales Youth final trialist, before appearing in the back row for Blaina, Tredegar, Swansea (119 apps, 43 tries) and Wales B (1982) before injury ended his career as a player in 1985.
He coached Blaina, Cross Keys, Bective Rangers, Swansea, Leinster (director coaching 1997-2000); Ireland A; Ebbw Vale (2000-2003) then Gwent Dragons (2003-2004). He also coached Emerging Wales and Wales A and was assistant coach of Wales in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.