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Tuesday 21 August 2018

Ruddock wary of confidence boost to Ospreys

RHYS RUDDOCK'S second favourite country, Wales, won the Grand Slam, while the back-row forward waited patiently in a short queue for playing time at Leinster.

"Whenever Wales aren't playing Ireland, I do tend to support them. I am happy to see them going so well. Obviously, there were some games in which I would have liked to see them do not quite so well," he said.

Ruddock is conscious of the positive knock-on effect the Wales Grand Slam could have on their clubs, with Leinster tangling with The Ospreys and Cardiff Blues in two of their next three games.

"They are playing great rugby. That will give the provinces in Wales good confidence. We need to be wary of that when we play against teams that might be high on confidence," he warned.

It looks like Ruddock will be pressed into service against The Ospreys in the PRO12 League tomorrow night, given that Ireland's frontline internationals Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip will be rested.

If so, Ruddock will be in with a chance of making the cut for the PRO12 match against Munster in Limerick the following weekend, and the Heineken Cup visit of The Blues on Saturday fortnight.

Ruddock made the headlines when travelling from the U20 World Cup to make his full Ireland debut, as a 19-year-old against Australia on the summer tour of 2010.

"I have got even more ambition to play for Ireland after having a little taste of it."

Since then, he has had to be patient as a player in an area where Ireland are blessed with a lorry-load of options. He signed a two-year contract extension three weeks ago, amid the rumour mill churning out speculation of a possible departure to Munster.

"I had said all along that my preference would be to stay with Leinster. I feel comfortable at Leinster. If there is any place to get the best out of me at the moment, this is where it is.

"It was just a case of weighing up my options, seeing whether I would be getting enough game time. I feel I will get enough opportunities and if I play well enough there is ample opportunity to make those international squads."

The time has come for Ruddock to take one of those opportunities.

This is the business end of the season. It is one big match after another in the PRO12 and Europe. This is the time to shine, especially with a three-Test tour to New Zealand looming.

"It is obviously not something I can control," Ruddock added. "But, definitely, a goal would be to make these squads, to make the summer tours where you might get an opportunity to play. I've just got to keep improving and building on performances leading into that period."

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