Mike Ruddock resigns due to ‘power split’, unhappy players and contract issues, claims team analyst

Alun Carter was the Wells insider who saw it all during the ‘Slammed’ years.

He was at the Kensington Gardens Hotel in November 1998 when then-New Wales coach Graham Henry saw the 22 players selected to face South Africa later that day.

Wales suffered a 96–13 loss to the Springboks in Pretoria last summer, but Henry was not saying a word as he headed to the far end of the room, where he told a group of men. A small window opened before him whom he barely knew. : “We can win this game.”

Wales took a 20–17 lead with three minutes of normal time playing, but lost 28–20.

Carter Analyst was around when the national team under Steve Hansen suffered 10 consecutive losses and he sat on the stands at the 2003 World Cup when Shane Williams and Jonathan Thomas inspired an unexpectedly competitive performance against New Zealand .

He was also there to watch for a charge-down try and a Kevin Morgan knife-over touchdown after getting the ball to Ronan O’Gara to Gethin Jenkins at Millennium Stadium, which confirmed the first Grand Slam for Wales in 27 years. Afterwards, he was at the team hotel watching Mike Ruddock playing the guitar after supervising the win.

And the highly regarded backroom man and former Wales international was witness to explosive incidents, which culminated in Wales’ slam coach less than a year later.

He was also on the scene when Wales were heading towards the 2007 World Cup, an incident in which they inadvertently crashed, resulting in the sacking of head coach Gareth Jenkins.

The ups and downs of his time with Welsh rugby union are described in his book, Seeing red: 12 turbulent years in Welsh rugby, Anyone who scans the pages after watching Slammed, the documentary covering the Wales rugby team between 1998 and 2008, whose final episode aired on BBC Wales on Wednesday evenings at 9pm, adds to their wealth of knowledge on the subject. will add.

Others will have their own versions of what happened, of course, but Carter’s is eye-opener, especially with Ruddock in charge of the time.

He recounts contract issues and splits in the Welsh camp which eventually led to Ruddock feeling he had to leave at the end of the season, before the WRU immediately called on him to stand down.

Ruddock has been told of the contractual problems, stating that there were three main problems with negotiating the deal: “One of the most controversial points was that the WRU chief executive, not the head coach, had the final say.” The team was selected.” The head of the union at the time, Steve Lewis, agreed to remove the clause.

Ruddock continues in the book: “The second major issue was the complaints process. Any of my complaints could end up on Steve Lewis’ table. There was no recourse to an independent arbitrator.

“The third was that the contract had to state that all the other coaches had to report to me. It was a big problem, because Clive Griffith had no contract offer and Scott Johnson would not sign under any circumstances.” Ruddock explained to Union that it was impossible for him to sign his contract under those circumstances.

Carter said that “clear signs of a power division” had become apparent in the management group.

In Ruddock’s debate after a 41–3 loss to New Zealand in the autumn of 2005, Carter said, “The first thing I noticed when I entered the room was (assistant coach) Scott Johnson in the back row among the players. instead of sitting in front with Mike and Clive leading the debriefs as usual, folded their arms over their chests”.

Ruddock asked Stephen Jones a question about Wales’s resume, which was repeatedly blasted at length on both sides of the field instead. According to this account, the fly-half “became quite defensive and irritable. The tone of his reaction to Mike was off-key and pointed to a deeper problem”.

The problems were becoming apparent.

Johnson reportedly failed to appear for the meeting with Ruddock, but a clean-up eventually ensued, which ended with the Wales head coach’s tearful hug to Johnson.

But the camp was still not happy.

After a 47-13 defeat by England at Twickenham, Ruddock famously wanted players to avoid Saturday evening’s game, with the game against Scotland being played next weekend. But Carter says in his book that Gareth Thomas got excited about the issue and that some players “moved out of town anyway”.

He quoted Thomas as saying in his book: “I went to my team manager, Alan Phillips, and told him that a posse of our players, including myself, were planning to go to London that night, but even though they were not in the middle of the night, they were not allowed to go to London. Hey II intended to go, I did not think it was a good idea.”

“If he knew it was a good idea,” Carter asked in Seeing Raid, “why didn’t he, as captain, repeat Mike’s advice to the players and set an example? If he thought it was okay, So why complain that Mike wasn’t firm enough. You can’t have your cake and eat it.”

It proved difficult for those going out that night to grasp the new tricks of professionalism.

Carter claimed that some of the lineout instructions were ignored by players in the Scottish game.

Ruddock was tired of all this and decided to walk out, telling Carter: “It’s not working out. There’s obviously a split in the camp. People aren’t giving me the support I need and I’m out for the season.” I’m going to stand up at the end.”

The end game came faster than anyone expected.

The WRU called a press conference asking Ruddock to stand up immediately. “I was absolutely devastated that it had to end like this,” Coach told Carter.

This is one person’s interpretation, and undoubtedly Scott Johnson, Gareth Thomas and others have their own opinions on what happened.

But the undeniable fact is that Wales had somehow lost a coach who oversaw the Grand Slam 11 months ago.

By any standard this is a reality that reflects badly on all concerned.

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