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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Ruddock accepts Barbarians role
Mike Ruddock has not coached since leaving Wales
Mike Ruddock has not coached since leaving the Wales job
Mike Ruddock has taken his first rugby job since finishing as Wales coach.

He will first coach a World XV against Saracens on Sunday, before becoming Barbarians forwards coach against England on 28 May at Twickenham.

Ruddock will assist former Australia coach Bob Dwyer, then take charge of a World XV again in South Africa in June.

"It is an opportunity to dip my toe back in the water and see how things are on the other side of the fence, with the rugby side," Ruddock said.

Ruddock stepped down suddenly as Wales coach midway through the 2006 Six Nations, sending shock waves around Welsh rugby.

The circumstances surrounding his departure contributed to the failed vote of no confidence in the Welsh Rugby Union board last weekend.

Ruddock has since kept his head down, taking a position away from rugby with Newport recruitment and training company Acorn.

It's the first time I've been involved with Bob Dwyer
Mike Ruddock

He confirmed the company had allowed him the five-week leave of absence to answer rugby's call.

The World XV will play South Africa at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, on 3 June, before moving to Cape Town to face Western Province at Newlands six days later.

The Barbarians squad is expected to contain the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio, Justin Marshall, Bruce Reihana, Thomas Castaignede and Carlos Spencer.

"They are top-rate, quality rugby players, so it's nice to be able to work with that sort of calibre," Ruddock added.

"It's the first time I've been involved with a World XV or a Barbarian-type team, it's the first time I've been involved with Bob Dwyer, even though I've coached against him, so it's all good stuff."

But Ruddock admitted he has been enjoying his time away from the sport, although he admits he has never been far from rugby.

He travelled to Italy to watch his youngest son, Rhys, win his first schoolboy cap for Wales Under-16s, while eldest son Ceiron has started playing for the Ospreys Under-18 side.

His return to coaching could signal a more permanent position somewhere in the future, but Ruddock says no one should take his sojourn as a sign he wants back in straight away.

"It's a bit premature to be talking about that," Ruddock said.

"I've been lucky enough to get the opportunity to start working in the commercial world, I'm enjoying that and hopefully can carry on for some time yet."

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