Ruddock unsure of future after relegation

Worcester Warriors director of Rugby Mike Ruddock has refused to be drawn on his future after his team was relegated from the Guinness Premiership following their loss to Leeds on the weekend.

The 12-10 loss to Leeds will see Worcester leaving the top flight after six seasons in the Guinness Premiership.

Former Gloucester boss Dean Ryan has been linked with the job at Sixways but Ruddock, who has one year left on his contract, refused to comment on whether or not he is likely to remain at the club.

When asked about his future he said: “Who knows? I will have a chat with the chairman (Cecil Duckworth) and see what he thinks, but today is just to reflect upon a game that has slipped away.”

“We’ve just had a major disappointment and those are not the things I want to talk about and if I do want to talk about them, I will talk about them with the chairman.” he said on the Guinness Premiership site.

The former Wales boss also paid tribute to Leeds, who secured their top-flight status with the victory.

“Take nothing away from Leeds,” he said. “It was an excellent win for them and they have picked up some big victories here.”

“They battled for that victory but we scored the only try and we had the chances to win that game, and we missed a few kicks at goal.

“I could have done with my skipper (Pat Sanderson, who failed a late fitness test) really to see us through those final 10 minutes. That’s been the story of the season. We have conceded fewer tries than Leeds and scored more tries than Leeds but they have closed out their wins.

“In 60 per cent of the games we have lost this season we have been within seven points of the other side. “

“The ability to go toe-to-toe with sides has been there but we have not been able to hold on for victories and keep collecting the wins and we paid the price today.”

Leeds kicker Ceiron Thomas kicked four penalties in the first half of the match which put Leeds 12-3 up at Headingley Carnegie.

Willie Walker replied with a penalty of his own for Worcester having missed with an earlier attempt. But Walker then missed two kickable penalties early in the second half before Alex Grove crossed from a Matthew Jones chip to narrow the gap.

But it was not enough for the Warriors as Jones saw his stoppage-time drop goal charged down to spark delirium among the Leeds faithful. And Leeds rugby director Andy Key admitted he was a relived man after a dramatic finale.

“That final whistle couldn’t come soon enough,” he said. “It was a case that we felt we were trying to lose the game and not win it, but thankfully our defence in that last 90 seconds was good enough to force an error from them and we’ll just take the win.”

Despite the Yorkshire club having defied the odds to avoid relegation having been pre-season favourites for the drop, head coach Neil Back felt his side had turned in a poor performance.

He said: “It’s not the way we wanted to win, in terms of execution we were poor, but you can accept that as today was about winning.”

“If we were to review that game it would be painful. We are better then that but we would take it.”

The club will now be able to build for next season now they have secured survival, including bringing in several new faces.

“We can now look at who needs surgery, who needs a rest, and we can push some buttons on some great players who can come in and help us achieve our objective of being a top-half-of-the-table club,” said the former England flanker.

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