GRAND SLAM GURU RUDDOCK SCOOPS COACHING CROWN

17 Nov 2005

Mike Ruddock and Alun PughThe driving force behind the Welsh rugby contingent’s first Six Nations Grand Slam win since 1978 has been awarded the top honour at the annual Sports Council for Wales Coach of the Year awards.

Welsh National Coach, Mike Ruddock was crowned ‘Coach of the Year’ at a glittering ceremony held at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff – an award presented in the year which has seen Welsh rugby return to its glory days.

The stylish charge of the Welsh 15 took them to momentous wins both at home and away during the 2005 Six Nations campaign and helped propel the side swiftly up the rungs of Test rugby's ladder. They clinched a Grand Slam, Triple Crown and Championship in scintillating style and the squad – currently embroiled in a captivating Autumn International campaign – will aim to cement their stronghold on the silverwear when the competition comes calling again in February 2006.

Welsh Captain Marvel Gareth Thomas said:

"Our Grand Slam success was testimony to the hard work and dedication that the squad and our coaches have put in behind the scenes over a number of years.

"The players owe a debt of gratitude to all the coaching staff including Mike, skills coach Scott Johnson, our defence coach Clive Griffiths and fitness coach Andrew Hore as well as a long list of back room staff that were and are an integral part of our successes.

"We welcome this reward as due recognition of the enormous contribution Mike has made as head coach to the collective success of this squad and I would like to congratulate him on behalf of the entire squad and backroom team as a worthy winner of this prestigious award."