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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 16:19 GMT
Ruddock could take court action
Former Wales coach Mike Ruddock
Mike Ruddock is set to resort to legal measures with the WRU
Former Wales coach Mike Ruddock could take the Welsh Rugby Union to court over his departure from the job.

BBC Wales understands Ruddock met with employment lawyers on Wednesday and is contemplating claiming constructive dismissal from his role as Wales coach.

That follows Ruddock's meeting on Tuesday night with the WRU board, which then unanimously backed the actions of chief executive Steve Lewis.

He had come under fire for his handling of contract negotiations with Ruddock.

There were also claims Lewis had met with senior players to discuss Ruddock's future prior to the Grand Slam-winning coach's resignation.

If a court case was launched, it would be based more on the manner of dismissal, rather than a claim for compensation, as Ruddock's current contract only extended to the end of this RBS Six Nations season.

I have explained my position, which I hope has been useful to the board and will avoid further unnecessary speculation
Mike Ruddock

However, WRU chairman David Pickering revealed on BBC Radio Wales on Tuesday morning that the WRU had shaken hands with Ruddock on a two-year extension that would have been worth 400,000, which could become part of the claim.

The WRU refused to comment on this latest piece of news.

Ruddock did little to quash the speculation surrounding his resignation as Wales coach after his meeting with the WRU board on Tuesday.

He quit citing family reasons a week ago, only for rumours to spring up that he had been about to be sacked.

But after discussing the situation with the WRU, Ruddock refused to shed any more light on his decision to step down in a measured press statement.

Pickering also read out a WRU response on Tuesday night saying: "The board discounted media speculation that senior players had met with the chief executive to discuss Mike Ruddock prior to his resignation.

"The board is satisfied and unanimously supports the actions of its executive staff, and in particular chief executive Steve Lewis and head of group services Tim Burton."

Ruddock seemed to be satisfied with the meeting, which he had called in order to address the speculation that followed his departure.

"I have explained my position, which I hope has been useful to the board and will avoid further unnecessary speculation or any false impressions, which could undermine my personal position or that of the board," he said in a statement.

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

My issues are unimportant and insignificant compared to the challenge Wales face on the pitch
Mike Ruddock

"The board members have been provided with a copy of my statement and copies of other relevant documents, which I hope will help their deliberations without the risk of misinterpretation or confusion as to my exact position."

Ruddock also urged fans to get behind the Wales players and give them their full support ahead of Sunday's RBS Six Nations match against Ireland in Dublin.

"The most important message I would like to convey to Welsh rugby fans and to the media is to focus their efforts and energy on getting behind Wales for their big match against Ireland," he added.

"My message to the team itself is to concentrate on the next game and to carry on the brilliant performance against Scotland.

"My issues are unimportant and insignificant compared to the challenge they face on the pitch.

"I wish them all the luck in the world, and I believe they can go on and win all their remaining games.

"I would also like to express my personal thanks for all the messages of support I have received."

Wales will have to play without skipper Gareth Thomas, who has been ruled out of the rest of the championship with a damaged artery in his neck.

Interview: Welsh Rugby Union chairman David Pickering

Interview: Wales player Michael Owen

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