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Ruddock: We’ve Got The Start We Wanted

Ruddock: We’ve Got The Start We Wanted

It was a good day at the office for Lansdowne on Sunday afternoon as their 48-7 bonus point triumph over Shannon sent them top of the Ulster Bank League Division 1A table.

Speaking to IrishRugby.ie after the game, Lansdowne head coach Mike Ruddock was particularly pleased with the performance given that they lost 22-17 to the same opposition at the beginning of February.

“In fairness to Shannon, they rolled us over here last season. So, I think we came out determined to put things right and played some good rugby. Held the ball fairly well, moved the ball fairly well and got in for a few tries,” explained Ruddock.

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“I heard them talking there in the huddle at half-time, it was fairly clear that they didn’t wanted to make it easy for us in the second half.

“They didn’t drop the heads really, they kept tackling even though we got through eventually for another try or two. They kept tackling and shut us out for about 30 minutes. So, that was a bit frustrating for us.”

Having played some devastating rugby on their way to a 32-7 interval lead, Lansdowne were certainly less effective in the second period.

The former Six Nations-winning Welsh coach did feel that the headquarters club took their foot off the pedal somewhat after the restart, though he was also quick to praise Shannon’s application during this time.

“Yeah, we probably did (take our foot off the pedal) a little bit. We probably thought the wind was going to help us in the second half, and we perhaps didn’t play as well as we should have.

“You’ve just got to give a bit of credit to Shannon for not dropping their heads. With four tries against you in the first half, some teams would have dropped their heads and not tackled well in the second half.

“They competed really well in the breakdown, and they kept tackling. It’s a bit lesson for us to keep playing for 80 minutes.”

The second half of the game did afford Ruddock the opportunity to give some replacements valuable game-time nonetheless, and he feels that this will benefit them as the season progresses.

“We’re still building, we’ve got some guys here who are just making their league debuts. For example, Richard Liddington, who is a prop, is making his league debut. Clive Ross, a back row forward, it’s only his second league game for us.

“Marcus Walsh, who came on at scrum half, that was his first league game for us,” remaked the Ireland Under-20 supremo.

“We’re committed to that, it’s the early season, and you have to give guys a run because with any injury they have to come straight in.

“I think we did use three or four subs after half-time and perhaps lost a little bit of continuity through that, but in the bigger picture we’ll benefit from that because the guys will be up to speed with everything.”

With two wins from two, spirits are certainly high at the Lansdowne Road club. But Ruddock was eager to stress that it is still early days yet even though they have their sights set on certain goals for the new Ulster Bank League campaign.

“It’s too early yet to start forecasting, but we’ve gotten the start we wanted and we were around the top four last year, ending up fifth.

“We’re aiming to be in a similar position in and around the top four, trying to make it difficult for teams along the way,” he added.

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