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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 12:17 GMT
Ruddock loss still haunts Wales
Mike Ruddock's departure as Wales coach a year ago came as a shock
Mike Ruddock's departure as Wales coach a year ago came as a shock
Wednesday marks the anniversary of Mike Ruddock's surprise departure as Wales coach, less than a year after he led them to the Grand Slam in 2005.

Ruddock's departure stunned the Welsh public, left confused by the reasons quoted for the split, from contractual differences to personal reasons.

The Wales defence coach under Ruddock at the time was Clive Griffiths.

"Having won a first Grand Slam for 27 years, in some style, for it to go sour so quickly was incredible," he said.

"I'm still coming to terms with it myself really... it wasn't the greatest time for us together and certainly wasn't great for him."

Griffiths, who is now in charge at Doncaster RFC, remains good friends with Ruddock but admits he is rarely surprised at the polarising of opinions in Welsh rugby.

A poor start to this season's RBS Six Nations, with a home loss to Ireland followed by an inept performance and defeat in Scotland, has seen current Wales coach Gareth Jenkins under pressure.

Jenkins took over the hot seat following a brief caretaker spell by Australian Scott Johnson, who had been Wales attack coach under Ruddock.

An encouraging tour to Argentina, where an experimental and under-strength Wales squad lost both Tests but performed well, boded well for Jenkins' reign.

What we've got to do now is all calm down and look forward to the next game

Former Wales defence coach Clive Griffiths

But despite a draw with the Wallabies and wins over Canada and the Pacific Islands, a hammering to New Zealand and then the Six Nations slump has turned things sour.

Jenkins' record reads played eight, won two, drawn one, lost five.

Ruddock took employment away from rugby following last year's furore but has returned to the game as coach of Mumbles RFC in the Welsh lower leagues.

He also took charge of a World XV and coached the forwards of a Barbarians select side.

But the man who led Wales to that famous Grand Slam in 2005 and the following autumn also a first win over Australia since 1987 is never far from the Welsh public's thoughts.

There have been calls for Ruddock's return from some quarters, but Griffiths says the Welsh Rugby Union must stick by Jenkins in this World Cup year.

"I've been there when things aren't going particularly well and the flak certainly flies in Wales," Griffiths, speaking on BBC Radio Wales' Sportstime programme, said.

"When you're losing, it's sometimes a natural reaction and sometimes a knee-jerk reaction (to call for resignations).

"What we've got to do now is all calm down and look forward to the next game.

"We've got good players, they don't turn into bad players overnight, and you have to draw a line under defeats and get on with it."




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