Jump to main content



Versatile Ruddock Fits The Bill

Versatile Ruddock Fits The Bill

Rhys Ruddock, one of Ireland’s try scorers against South Africa, has said his father Mike’s influence helped him remain in Ireland with Leinster as the former Ireland Under-20 captain waited for his chance at senior level.

Despite having to bide his time, learning from the ‘expertise around’ him, Rhys Ruddock’s decision to remain at the province is paying off with 88 Leinster caps to his name now and four Ireland appearances under his belt.

Speaking about the guidance he received from his dad Mike, the former Wales and Ireland Under-20 head coach, Rhys said: “He definitely has a big influence, he’s got a lot of expertise and because he’s a little less attached to the decision, he could sit back and see it with a bit more experience and knowledge there – but he would always leave it up to me at the same time.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

“I had to take a good hard look and work out what was best for me in terms of my career and whether or not staying at Leinster would allow me to develop.

“After weighing up all the options, I decided that what I could learn in Ireland was more beneficial than me going elsewhere and maybe getting more game-time.”

Having found out at breakfast last Saturday that he would start against the Springboks after Chris Henry missed out due to illness, Ruddock was ready to make the step up having been poised to cover the openside flanker berth from the bench.

But the Ulsterman’s absence catapulted Ruddock into the starting line-up – it was his second successive start for Ireland after featuring in June’s second Test against Argentina.

He made the GUINNESS Series opener all the more memorable for himself personally by scoring Ireland’s opening try against the ‘Boks, two minutes into the second half.

Joking about his maiden Test score, Ruddock quipped: “I thought it was all me! No, but I didn’t have much to do for it. It was a well-worked maul and I suppose those are the ones you practice and when they come off like that you get an easy trot to the try-line. I was just grateful to be the one playing 7 and on the back of it.

“I was more than ready (to step in), having got the experience last year in the Irish shirt after a long break (he made his debut in 2010). The Italy and Argentina games were the real moments for me where I could settle my nerves about putting on the green jersey and playing for Ireland again.

“I suppose I was feeling a lot more settled. Although it was a little bit of a shock getting the start last weekend, I think I was feeling really settled and excited about it because I gained the experience last year.”

Now the hope is that he can hold onto a regular starting position with Ireland. Ruddock, who turned 24 yesterday, is ready to play across the back row, wherever Joe Schmidt sees fit.

“It depends on when Chris gets back fit and ready for selection. I’m happy to play in any of the three positions across the back row so I guess it’s a case of wherever the opportunity lies,” he admitted.

“I’m probably happiest playing at 6 but I have been grateful for the chance at 7 and should it be 6, 7 or 8, I’d be delighted to pick up any of the slots really.

“There are major differences (between the positions in the back row). You are a lot more in the action at 7. Whereas a 6 would hold defensively, the 7 seems to be the one doing all the folding and getting around the corner and linking with the backs so that’s the main difference, but it suits me as I like to work hard and get through a lot of work.”