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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2005, 00:08 GMT
Modest Ruddock takes 'team' medal
Mike Ruddock
Wales coach Mike Ruddock was quick to thank his players and staff after becoming an OBE in the Honours list.

He turned Wales from also-rans to champions within 12 months as his side won a first Grand Slam in 27 years.

But Blaina-born Ruddock, 46, accepted the honour "on behalf of the entire Welsh team and management".

"I know we all feel huge pride in a brand of rugby that brought a smile to a vast number of people in Wales, the UK and around the world," said Ruddock.

"The fact we brought the Grand Slam back to Wales after 27 years is truly down to every member of the team and backroom staff."

There is a long way to go yet to fulfil our ambitions
Mike Ruddock
A surprise appointment in March 2004, Ruddock inherited a Welsh side that was on the up, but added intuitive selection, a commitment to bold rugby and an emphasis on results.

As well as their stunning Six Nations success, Ruddock's side overcame a crippling injury list in the autumn to record a first win over Australia for 18 years.

But he remains ambitious as he seeks to build a Welsh dynasty to rival the glory created by the teams of the 1970s.

"We must now strive to build on our success as we move towards the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France - there is a long way to go yet to fulfil our ambitions," he said.

As a player, Ruddock was a flanker for Swansea and reached Wales B level before his career was abruptly halted by a serious work accident that left him with a fractured skull and three vertebrae.

He turned to coaching and led Swansea to victory over Australia in 1992, before clinching consecutive league titles in 1993 and 1994.

He was assistant coach at the 1995 World Cup, before enjoying stints with Leinster, Ebbw Vale, Wales A and the Newport Gwent Dragons.

Interview: Wales coach Mike Ruddock

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