Wales Head Coach 2004-2006
Played 20, Won 13 Drawn 0 Lost 7*
*Figures relate to performance in charge of capped Wales international matches
Michael Ruddock gained Welsh representative caps for Wales U16, whom he captained in 1975, and the Wales B side. He was also a Wales Youth final trialist. Domestically he represented Blaina, Tredegar and Swansea, where he made 119 appearances and scored 43 tries. An injury in 1985 ended his playing career.
Ruddock has a wealth of coaching experience that includes early spells at Blaina, Cross Keys and Bective Rangers. He became the Swansea Coach in 1991, moving after two years to the role of Director of Coaching until 1997. Whilst at Swansea he guided the team to their 21-6 victory over the touring Australians in 1992. The successful Swansea team also won the Heineken League in 1992 and 1994 and the Welsh Challenge Cup in 1995. Ruddock spent three years at Leinster as Director of Coaching until 2000 followed by periods coaching Ireland A (and was assistant Ireland coach to Brian Ashton), Ebbw Vale and the Newport Gwent Dragons. He also coached Emerging Wales and Wales A and was Assistant Coach of Wales in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. He took charge of Steve Hansen's Wales for one Rugby World Cup warm up match in 2003, against Romania in Wrexham.
Ruddock was appointed Wales Coach in March 2004 and started as he intended to go on by demolishing the Barbarians at Bristol City's Ashton Gate in his first game in charge. He quickly gained a reputation for out and out stylish attacking rugby (a style he would later compare to Brazilian football prior to opening game of the 2006 RBS Six Nations campaign), drawing a two match series with Argentina away, and running both South Africa and New Zealand close in the 2004 Lloyds TSB Autumn Series, this is not to mention the multi-try conquering of Romania and Japan in the same series.
In the following year he steered Wales to their first Grand Slam winning RBS Six Nations campaign in 27 years and with a successful two match tour to USA and Canada gave Wales an eight match winning streak (including the Japan game from the 2004 Lloyds TSB Autumn Series) prior to his date with the Lions-conquering New Zealand in the opening match of the 2006 Invesco Perpetual Series. On February 14th 2006, by mutual agreement with the WRU, Ruddock stepped down from his position of National Coach, citing personal reasons. Assistant Coach Scott Johnson guided the team through the remainder of the 2006 RBS Six Nations tournament following Ruddock's departure.