The news that former Grand Slam-winning coach Mike Ruddock has joined the struggling Ospreys on a short-term basis has been welcomed by many fans.
The 60-year-old was in charge of Lansdowne FC in Dublin, but has made his much-awaited return to Welsh rugby. He coached Swansea in the 1990s and had a lot of success, but is most remembered for guiding Wales to their first Grand Slam in 27 years in 2005.
Ruddock arrives after Allen Clarke was sacked last week after the region only managed one win from their opening seven Pro14 matches, and having lost both of their Champions Cup matches so far. He will take charge for a month in a consultancy role, which the Ospreys have described as “a consultancy basis for a month to run the rule over the rugby side of the business.
“His role will include offering support and advice to interim Ospreys coaches Matt Sherratt and Carl Hogg for the month of December while playing a key role in the review.”
Great news for the O's after a dismal week. He's going to need more than a month but I wouldn't mind betting that he will be around for quite a bit longer.
— Lee Wainfur ??????? ? (@LWainfur) December 2, 2019
Surely a month is hardly enough time to solve some major organisational issues. Good luck though
— Gareth Jones (RNLD/RSCN & Specialist Practitioner) (@GTjones1977) December 2, 2019
While Ruddock is not taking on a coaching role per se, many Ospreys fans feel that one month is not enough to alleviate the region’s problems or change anything, and many hope that the position will be made permanent. The opinion is that the issues lie far deeper than poor coaching at the Liberty Stadium, and a month will not be long enough to resolve such problems, or indeed whether a figure like Ruddock could actually do that.
Hmm only for a month??
— Rhodri (@Rhodri152) December 2, 2019
Ruddock will be good for them but a month is too short – it needs to be extended
— Paula J Smith (@cerr1d) December 2, 2019
A man with Ruddock’s experience will undoubtedly help the Ospreys, particularly as they try and navigate their way through a tough few weeks, as they face back-to-back encounters with Racing 92 in the Champions Cup before facing the Cardiff Blues and the Scarlets five days apart.
hopefully it will turn into a "longer commitment" ??
— Emma Powell (@EmmaLouS85) December 2, 2019
Genuinely think that Mike Ruddock can be the figurehead to galvanise @ospreys going forward. This season is a write off. Expect him to stay longer term and bring in his own coaching team given we known Matt Sherratt is leaving.
— Osprey Al (@OspreyAl) December 2, 2019
Many people were sympathetic towards Clarke for having to deal with a squad that was completely decimated by injuries and players absent at the Rugby World Cup. The boost for the Ospreys, and Ruddock himself, is that stalwarts Alun Wyn Jones and George North are set to return in the coming weeks, which will be a timely return to a squad that has seen Dan Lydiate start in the second-row due to injuries.
Ruddock is clearly a popular figure, but fans feel that a more than a month is needed from him if there is to be any change.
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