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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March 2005, 07:13 GMT
Wales coach marks his first year
Mike Ruddock at his appointment as Wales rugby coach
Mike Ruddock did not initially apply for the top job in Welsh rugby
The Welsh rugby team flies to Edinburgh on Friday, chasing the fourth leg of a possible Grand Slam, exactly a year after coach Mike Ruddock took charge.

His was a shock last-minute appointment, after he failed to apply for the job at first.

Nobody even knew Ruddock was a candidate until just before the press conference to announce his new job.

At first he decided not to apply for the post, but said he is glad he changed his mind.

He told the BBC: "Yes, it was a big decision and obviously I had to reflect on why I hadn't applied initially, and had to think about why perhaps suddenly the union were asking me to make the presentation.

Everyone's working like a team, so it's been easy for me
Mike Ruddock

"In the end I decided this was a time that perhaps I should be looking to put my name in, and I felt that obviously I could help to make a difference.

"I must have believed that. That's why I did it and it's been a great year."

He said had has enjoyed his first 12 months, but cannot take all the credit for Wales' improved performances.

"A year on, I can reflect on a very good year only because of the hard work of people like Andrew Hore, Scott Johnson, Clive Griffiths and the players themselves. They've got to take the credit really.

'Great year'

"All I've done is try to create the environment where they can actually breathe and feel as though they can actually deliver what they are really good at, and that's playing and coaching, and those guys have done it."

Even so, Ruddock said he had thoroughly enjoyed his first year in charge.

"It's been a great year, not just for me, for the team, all the coaches.

"Everyone's working like a team, the players are working as a team together, so it's been easy for me to see such quality in the environment just moving forward."

Highlights: France 18-24 Wales

Interview: Wales coach Mike Ruddock

Interview: Wales' Stephen Jones

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