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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 March, 2004, 15:34 GMT
Ruddock lands Wales job
Mike Ruddock will be the first Welshman to coach Wales since 1998
Mike Ruddock will succeed Steve Hansen as Wales coach in a shock appointment by the Welsh Rugby Union.

The Dragons boss did not apply for the position but was approached on Monday, leap-frogging favourites Gareth Jenkins and Mark Evans.

"When the WRU asked me on Monday to make a presentation, I was excited by the opportunity," Ruddock said.

"It is certainly something I have always wanted to do, and it is something I want to do my best at."

In a surprise move the WRU named Ruddock as the new head coach on Thursday, with his Dragons assistant Clive Griffiths expected to return as Wales defensive coach.

There is every chance that I might speak to Scott Quinnell and Rob Howley
New Wales coach Mike Ruddock

Hansen will leave his job at the end of the RBS Six Nations to take up an assistant role with the All Blacks, with Ruddock taking his place on an initial two-year deal.

Ruddock is a former Wales A coach, while he also enjoyed successful spells with Swansea and Irish provincial side Leinster.

Griffiths should resume his role as defensive coach, while current team manager Alan Phillips will remain in his post, with Australian Scott Johnson staying as skills coach and Andrew Hore as conditioning coach.

Once Hansen quits at the end of this month after the Six Nations finishes, Ruddock will take over the reins.

He will be the first Welshman to coach his country full-time since Kevin Bowring resigned in 1998.

Ruddock also revealed that he has not ruled out trying to tempt former Wales stars Scott Quinnell and Rob Howley out of international retirement.

"There is every chance that I might speak to Scott Quinnell and Rob Howley to see what their situation is like," Ruddock added.

"Whether they are able to consider it (a return to international rugby) having retired for family reasons, I do not know, but I think I ought to phone them up and have a chat."

The 44-year-old's first game in charge will be against the Barbarians on Wednesday, 26 May at Bristol's Ashton Gate, followed by a June tour to Argentina and South Africa.




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Wales coach Mike Ruddock
"My determination has got me here"



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