Mike Ruddock leaves Lansdowne to take charge of Ospreys
Former player will take charge of struggling Welsh franchise after disastrous start to the season
Mike Ruddock will leave Lansdowne and take charge of the Ospreys on an interim basis. Photograph: Ben Whitley/Inpho
The former Leinster and Wales Grand Slam-winning coach Mike Ruddock is to end his long and successful association with Lansdowne and Irish rugby, at least temporarily, to take over as the interim head coach of the struggling Ospreys.
According to Lansdowne sources, after an unsolicited approach from the Ospreys, the club gave their consent for him to enter into discussions with the Welsh region. These negotiations have led to the Ospreys making Ruddock an offer which he has accepted.
The pull of the Ospreys would have been significant for Ruddock, who had a distinguished playing career as a number eight with the club, scoring 47 tries in 121 games for them.
After his stint with Bective Rangers he coached Swansea to Welsh league titles in 1992 and 1994 and the Welsh Cup in 1995, as well as a famous a 21-6 win over the touring Australians in 1992. Ruddock coached Leinster from 1997 to 2000, and led Wales to a Grand Slam in 2004, before returning to Ireland, where he has coached the Ireland under-20s and Lansdowne.
Mark McHugh will take over the position as head coach of Lansdowne FC on an interim basis until the situation becomes clearer.
The club PRO Joe Leddin said: “Positions will be filled internally for the time being and we will bring more news to our players and members as we get it. We wish Mike the best of luck and hope that it is only a temporary position but realise the draw that this position has for him and will fully support any decision he makes. To his enormous credit Mike will still be available to consult with team and coaches over the next few weeks.”
The Ospreys have had a dreadful start to the season. Their budget having been slashed by the WRU to the tune of over €1 million in 2018, and also hit by the World Cup. They relieved Allen Clarke of his duties as head coach after a dire run of results but went down to their eighth defeat in nine matches, and seventh-in-a-row, when beaten 18-13 by the Cheetahs at The Gnoll last Friday night.