Worcester Warriors is delighted to announce that Mike Ruddock OBE has today signed a new one-year contract extension to remain as Director of Rugby at Sixways Stadium.
Ruddock joined Warriors in May 2007 on a three-year deal and has now put pen to paper on a 12-month extension that will see him remain at the club until at least 2011.
The 50-year-old has a fantastic pedigree and reputation in rugby, across the domestic and international arena, after successfully leading Wales to the Grand Slam in 2005.
Ruddock has previously enjoyed spells at Swansea, where he won Welsh league titles in 1992 and 1994 and the Welsh Cup in 1995. He has also been director of coaching at Leinster and coached at Ebbw Vale and Newport Gwent Dragons. The former Wales B backrower has previously been Head Coach with Wales A & Ireland A as well as enjoying coaching stints with the Barbarians and the World XV.
The Blaina-born coach was appointed Wales coach in 2004 and in his first season completed the Grand Slam in the Six Nations Championships for the first time since 1978. He received the OBE in the 2006 New Years Honours List.
"I'm delighted to sign this contract extension. Worcester Warriors is a fantastic club with a brilliant chairman, an outstanding fan base and dedicated group of professionals on the playing staff," said Ruddock.
"I'm hoping that our good form of late will continue over an extended period as we continue to develop our squad strength and consistency.
"Over the last two years we've been building a squad that we believe will be capable of making a bigger impact on the Guinness Premiership.
"During that time we have given opportunities to a number of players who have come through our excellent Academy structure. We have also signed world class stars including Chris Latham, Rico Gear, Sam Tuitupou and Greg Rawlinson, players who have helped to establish the Warriors brand globally.
"Our goal over the next two years is to keep improving as a team and strive, with the assistance of my talented backroom staff, to challenge for a place amongst Europe's elite."
Ruddock led Warriors to the European Challenge Cup final in his first season in charge and the semi-finals the following season.
He also guided Warriors to the top of the Guinness Premiership earlier this season - the first time in the club's history they club has topped the English elite - as Warriors have made an impressive start to the campaign.
Chairman Cecil Duckworth OBE said: "I'm very pleased that Mike has agreed a new deal at Warriors and that he can now continue his fantastic work at the club beyond this season.
"With Mike at the helm, we have witnessed the development of a squad full of exciting young English talent at Sixways Stadium. Players such as Matt Mullan, Tom Wood, Miles Benjamin, Alex Grove, Graham Kitchener, Jonny Arr, Joe Carlisle and Greg King, and a number of other Academy players who are knocking on the door, have all flourished under his guidance.
"He has mixed them with an exciting blend of experienced international stars and this season we believe the team is showing its true potential as we compete in both domestic and European competitions.
"Mike has not only brought a fantastic amount of enthusiasm, passion and dedication to his role but also developed and instilled a truly professional attitude and ethos at the club in everything we do. I know, with his talented backroom team alongside him, he is determined to continue to drive Warriors forward."
Niall Annett and Phil Dowson are among three changes to the Warriors starting line-up for their trip to Franklin's Gardens to take on Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership this Saturday (kick-off 3pm).