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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 10:35 GMT
WRU defends actions over Ruddock
Mike Ruddock

The Welsh Rugby Union's board has defended its actions following the sudden resignation of Wales coach Mike Ruddock last week.

A WRU board statement supported chief executive Steve Lewis and discounted "media speculation" of player power.

Mike Ruddock met the WRU on Tuesday to give his version of events which led to his shock departure.

Chairman David Pickering told BBC Wales the board members gave "unanimous support" to the decisions taken.

He added it was time for Welsh rugby to "move on".

Speaking to BBC Wales on Wednesday, Mr Pickering said it was the most important meeting he had attended in over two years as WRU chair.

"There were very concerned board members who were intent on heads rolling," he said.

"They heard the complete story from Mike Ruddock's side yet still after bringing with them all the concerns of their clubs in the districts they retained the same unanimous verdict.

"Welsh rugby has had an investigation on this issue,"

He said the focus now should be on the Wales v Ireland Six Nations game on Sunday, which the team will start without captain Gareth Thomas after a scan showed he had damage to an artery in his neck.

'Face value'

Ruddock met the WRU's 17-man board to give his version of the events which led to the announcement of his departure as Wales coach for "family reasons".

He was forced to stand down with immediate effect last week after he told the WRU he did not want to carry on past this season's Six Nations Championship.

Mike Ruddock and Gareth Thomas at a Wales training session
Gareth Thomas has denied wanting Ruddock to leave

Ruddock then requested Tuesday's meeting with the WRU board, claiming the union was not in possession of all the facts about his departure.

Former Wales and Lions player Gareth Davies told BBC Radio Wales the "drama continues to play out".

"After I heard what Mike Ruddock had to say, I thought he was pushing the ball back into the union's court, especially when he mentioned the fact it was now being left to the clubs and the districts," he said.

"However, the union in some ways has been very positive in their response and I think we have to take that on face value that they have carried out a full investigation of the facts.

"I understand Mike Ruddock gave them a paper trail of what's gone in the last few weeks."

Following a two-hour meeting at the Millennium Stadium, Ruddock gave prepared statement at a press conference, saying he had given his personal views and position.

"It is now a matter for the WRU board to consult with the districts and the constituent clubs of the WRU and decide on the next steps.

He urged fans and the media to get behind Wales for the match.

Chairman David Pickering read a WRU board statement calling for a line to be drawn under the affair following a "tough week for Welsh rugby".

The statement backed chief executive Steve Lewis and discounted "media speculation" that players had been involved in Ruddock's departure.

See Mike Ruddock's statement after his meeting the WRU

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