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Ryan favourite to lead Warriors after coach Ruddock walks away

FORMER Gloucester coach Dean Ryan is the red-hot favourite to succeed Mike Ruddock as director of rugby at relegated Worcester.

Ryan, 43, has spent a season out of the Premiership gaze after leaving Gloucester by mutual consent last June.

But the former England No8 is believed to be top of the Warriors’ wanted list after Ruddock walked out, taking “full responsibility” for the Sixways’ club’s demise.

Ruddock, 50, who guided Wales to Six Nations title and Grand Slam success in 2005, left the club in a good state with a host of new signings, including Andy Goode, Neil Best and Toulon full-back Luke Rooney, fronting their Championship campaign next year.

But it comes after a sorry season which saw the Warriors win just three games all season, including none away from home and only one since late September.

“As director of rugby, I take full responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in,” Ruddock, inset, said on announcing his resignation

“Ultimately, our inability to win close games has cost us dearly.

“I would like to thank the chairman, Cecil Duckworth, for his fantastic support during my time at the club. I am devastated that I have not been able to deliver the success both he and the fans at Sixways deserve.

“I am sure that the squad that has been put together for next season will bounce straight back up and that they will be even stronger for the experience.”

Multi-millionaire chairman Duckworth added: “We will now look to take the club forward under new leadership. Our focus now switches to the search for a successor to Mike Ruddock.”