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Last Updated: Monday, 2 January 2006, 11:16 GMT
Ruddock hints at new Wales deal
Wales coach Mike Ruddock
Mike Ruddock's current deal runs out after the 2006 Six Nations
Mike Ruddock has hinted he is close to agreeing a new contract to continue as Wales coach until the 2007 World Cup.

His current deal runs out at the end of this year's RBS Six Nations, where Wales will be defending the Grand Slam they won under Ruddock last season.

"What you will find is there will be some positive announcements pretty soon," Ruddock said.

"We have... to make sure everyone is comfortable with what we are going to do through to the 2007 World Cup."

The Welsh Rugby Union has been in negotiations with Ruddock to extend his deal since last March, following Wales' first Grand Slam for 27 years.

The Union is also keen to persuade skills coach Scott Johnson to continue in his role, having lost fitness coach Andrew Hore back to his native New Zealand

Australian Johnson has also been courted by his home nation, with Guiness Premiership club Leicester Tigers also interested as they search for a head coach to replace the departing Pat Howard.

But Ruddock will be the first piece of the jigsaw to continue Wales' upward climb back towards the very top level of Test rugby.

The 46-year-old became an OBE in the New Year Honours list, but the medals he is concentrating on now are to be won on the field.

"We will be trying to better our performances of last season and to win the Six Nations title again, but the big focus is on the World Cup," Ruddock added.

"We have won 10 of our last 12 games and that gives the players and coaches a lot of confidence for the future, but we still know we can improve.

"Experience is a great thing and the more I get as an international coach the better I will become."

Ruddock backs Henson ban appeal
01 Jan 06 |  European Club
Modest Ruddock takes 'team' medal
31 Dec 05 |  Internationals
Ruddock 'close' to new Wales deal
27 Aug 05 |  Internationals


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