Director of Rugby Ruddock spoke of the devastation as Worcester Warriors were relegated from the Guinness Premiership – but vowed the club would come back stronger for the heartbreaking experience.
Worcester’s six year stay in the English top-flight will end after this season after defeat to Leeds Carnegie at Headingley.
Ruddock admitted penalties and missed kicks had cost his side in the must-win clash in Leeds.
But he insisted the mood within the dressing room was to rebuild and return stronger in the coming years.
“We have to make sure we come straight back up and learn from the likes of Harlequins and Northampton who have come back stronger for that experience,” said Ruddock.
“I would ask the fans to stick with us and be part of the journey as we come back an ever better outfit.
“Cecil Duckworth is a fantastic guy and we are desperately disappointed that we have let him down this season, but he knows the effort has been there and the margins are tight.
“Tight margins have ultimately hurt us this season. Warriors could have gone down a couple of years ago when Loki Crichton missed in front of the posts. He missed and they stayed up. This year we lose after scoring the only try in this game. You feel sometimes that for all the effort the gods are not with you.
“We are all devastated,” he added. “You can’t fault the commitment, we tried our best and on occasions we weren’t accurate enough, particularly in the lineout today and goal kicking. Some of these issues have haunted us all season.
“We showed massive team spirit and massive desire to get back and win the game, culminating in the only try of the game.
“To lose the game having scored the only try of the game and not conceding is disappointing in a game of this magnitude.
“The effort and commitment has been there, but the accuracy has not always been there to the extent that we want. That is why we find ourselves in this position.
“We were 12-3 down at half-time but didn’t panic, we told them what needed to be done and it was a case of getting the possession and asking questions of their defence. We felt we had the extras fitness and creativity to win the game.
“We haven’t closed out the tight games and given away too many penalties, they have been major issues for us and we have worked hard to correct that. Today it came down to missing our kicks at goal.”
Ruddock also paid tribute to the supporters as hundreds of Worcester fans made the journey up north.
He added: “I want to thank the fans, they are a magnificent bunch and hopefully they would have seen that there was no shortage of desire and effort.
“We can be critical of our ability to close of tight games, but what I would say to the fans that there is a huge desire at the club to do well, there are people who are very passionate about the club.
“The majority of the players are staying on and we have made some good signings for next season.
“This is a first experience like this for me, I have been lucky enough to win trophies in Wales and Ireland. I will now chat with Cecil and see what he wants, that is the most important thing.”