Ruddock to coach Irish youngsters
Published 04/08/2010 | 13:03
Mike Ruddock has been appointed as the new coach of the Ireland Under-20s.
The former Wales and Worcester boss takes over the reins from Allen Clarke, who will focus on his role as the Irish Rugby Union's high performance manager.
Ruddock enjoyed a spell at Dublin club side Bective Rangers early in his coaching career, and he worked as Leinster director of rugby for three years before guiding Wales to the 2005 Grand Slam.
The IRFU described Ruddock's recruitment as a "significant coup".
Ruddock's sons, Rhys and Ciaran, have both played for the Ireland Under-20s. Rhys captained the team to the 2010 Six Nations title before making his Test debut against Australia in the summer.
Ruddock said: "The importance of this age grade level is vital and the chance to work in Irish Rugby again was one I did not want to pass up on.
"The focus with any underage team is trying to develop players and also trying to add a winning culture to the ones that pass through the team each year.
"A good part of my coaching career has been spent here in Ireland and with my own personal experiences through Ciaran and Rhys playing for the Under-20's, I feel I have a good understanding of the systems and I am really looking forward to getting involved to help develop young players."
Clarke will work with Ruddock but his focus will be on creating "the development pathways for underage players into professional rugby".