That defeat at Parc Y Scarlets was a severe blow to new head coach Dwayne Peel, but Irish flanker Ruddock knows it wasn’t a true reflection of the either the Scarlets or their new top man.
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Leinster v Scarlets
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“I have a lot of respect for the Scarlets and the fact they lost so heavily at home worries me a little bit. They will have put a lot into this week,” said the 30-year-old Ruddock.
“They are a proud region, and we’re expecting a big performance from them. Dwayne Peel is also someone we have a lot of admiration for after his time with Ulster.
“I think he has brought in some new ideas in terms of their attacking game. Ulster often caused us problems.
“Then, you have Hugh Hogan on the coaching staff at the Scarlets now, who was contact skills coach with Leinster and is someone I know very well. Whenever you face a coach who used to work with you, you know they have much more of an insight into how you play and that makes it difficult.”
Leinster, though, have clicked into gear quickly this season and are feeling the benefits of the return of a fit and motivated Ireland captain Johnny Sexton, who missed out on Lions selection this summer.
Sexton came off the bench in the first-half against Zebre and ended up being man-of-the-match in a seven-try victory.
“He has had an incredible start to the season,” adds Ruddock of his 36-year-old teammate. “He’s the person in the group who drives the standards and it’s a privilege to play alongside him.
“His leadership is exceptional and his performances so far this season have been outstanding. He seems to have taken things to a new level again after having a break after missing out with the Lions. That seems to have made him very hungry again, which is great for us.”