BLAINA'S Mike Ruddock has taken on a new role as development director at the Ospreys on a three-year contract.

The 60-year-old former Wales coach returned to Welsh rugby at the end of 2019 as a consultant at the struggling Liberty Stadium region before becoming performance director in January.

Ruddock played a key role in bringing in head coach Toby Booth and attack coach Brock James.

Now the former Dragons and Ebbw Vale supremo will be tasked with bringing through future generations at the Ospreys.

"I have passed on the high performance baton to new head coach, Toby Booth, and his talented coaching team," said Ruddock.

"During my time at the Ospreys I have been heavily involved with coach and player recruitment plus the setting up of our excellent new temporary training facility at Swansea RFC.

"Now that the foundations for success are in place it is the right time to move into another challenging role."

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"As the club's first development director I am able to consider a much broader remit. If needed I can still support the high performance end of the organisation, however the main focus of my role will be to support our performance pathway model.

"It gives me a chance to help shape the future of the Ospreys by encouraging quality players to come into and through our system, and to nurture and develop them as players and people.

"It's a challenging and much needed role as we strive to identify and mould the next generation of Ospreys."

Ruddock has played his part in steadying the ship at the Ospreys after a nightmare 2019/20 that saw them whitewashed in a tough Champions Cup group and struggle at the bottom of the PRO14 when they are used to challenging at the top.

They return to action against the Dragons on Sunday, August 23 – needing a win to stand a chance of leapfrogging Dean Ryan's men – before travelling to Rodney Parade to face Cardiff Blues the following weekend.

Ospreys managing director Andrew Millward believes Ruddock will help ensure brighter times in Swansea.

"Mike's experience, knowledge and contacts in the game have proved invaluable for the Ospreys and I am delighted to see him carry on with the region," he said.

"He is a respected figure in the game, not just in Wales, and his new role will allow him to bring all of that and his expertise to bear on the Ospreys rugby operation going forward.

"Having played for and coached at Swansea, Mike knows and understands the DNA of the Ospreys and what the region means to our supporters, sponsors, partners and the community.

"He has already shown that with way he has influenced our recruitment policy and emphasized the need to develop our own talent and by encouraging home-grown players to return to their home region."