Ireland paid the price for a slow start in an entertaining U20 Six Nations clash where a high penalty count cost Ireland dearly.
The strong and swirling wind blowing in off Colwyn Bay made it difficult for both teams, but Ruddock’s men produced a good showing in the second half that really made the home side work for their result.
“We need to cut down on the penalty count and work on our scrummage, but there were a lot of positives, from our continuity to our tackling.
“We outscored them by two tries to one and feel that there is a lot we can improve on,” said Ruddock.
A two-point defeat away to a side which finished third in the Junior World Cup last year was not demoralising but Ruddock believes they can learn a lot from the encounter as they prepare to host England.
“It is a learning process for the boys. Of course we are disappointed not to win but we can take a lot from the game and look for a better performance the next time out.
“That’s what it is all about,” he added.
Wales enjoyed the greater possession in the opening half but still found themselves 7-3 adrift at the break, for while Ireland were on the back foot for long periods, their tackling was clinical and kept their hosts at bay.
Ireland’s cause was aided by the wayward kicking of out-half Sam Davies, who missed four out of five in the opening half.
Davies, son of Cardiff coach Nigel, finally found the range from in front of the posts after 14 minutes, but by then he had missed three.
But Wales were unable to turn possession into scores as Ireland’s defensive system worked well and they made their tackles count with Tom Daly, Rory Scannell, Peadar Timmins and Ryan Murphy getting the hits in.
Scrum-half Luke McGrath, one of only two survivors from last year in the starting 15, looked sharp throughout and he was heavily involved in the build-up to the game’s opening try, which he executed himself.
McGrath sniped superbly to create the opening which led to 10 phases of play inside the hosts’ red zone before McGrath pounced on a gap from the base of a ruck to cross after 20 minutes.
Davies reduced the margin to the minimum after the restart with another penalty before full-back Dion Jones crossed to push them in front after 51 minutes, with another Davies penalty making it 14-7.
Ireland, however, came storming back with out-half Steve Crosbie impressive and Tom Daly got over for a very good try on 62 minutes after Ryan Murphy had earlier crossed but did not get the decision from the television match official, after some great pressure deserved more.
Davies added another penalty to make it 17-12 for Wales but Daly replied for Ireland five minutes from time to set up an exciting finish.
Ireland piled on the pressure in the closing minutes but several forward surges failed to crack a desperate Welsh rearguard and the home side maintained their discipline and never looked like coughing up the penalty that would have given Ireland a shot at an unlikely win.
Instead, the Welsh countered in the closing minutes and played down the clock in a game where both tightheads, Nigel Thomas of Wales and Ireland’s Chris Taylor, spent spells in the bin.
Scorers for Wales Try: D Jones. Pens: S Davies (4).
Scorers for Ireland: Tries: McGrath, Daly. Con: Daly. Pen: Daly.
WALES: D Jones (Scarlets); A Evans (Ospreys), C Allen (Cardiff), S Hughes (Scarlets), A Hewitt (Dragons); S Davies (Ospreys), R Williams (Scarlets); N Smith (Ospreys), E Dee (Dragons), N Thomas (Ospreys); J Jones (Ospreys), R Hughes (Ospreys); S Bennett (Scarlets), D Thomas (Scarlets), E Jenkins (Cardiff).
Replacements: G Thomas (Scarlets) for Smith (51); T Pascoe (Cardiff for Hughes (62); E Lewis (Cardiff) for Dee, (75).
IRELAND: S Olding (Belfast Harlequins /Ulster); A O’Meara (Hartpury/ Exiles), T Daly (Lansdowne/Leinster), R Scannell (Dolphin/Munster), R Scholes (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster); S Crosbie (Old Belvedere/Leinster), L McGrath (UCD/Leinster); B Scott (UCC/Munster), G McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons/Exile), C Taylor (Malone/Ulster); J Donnan (Ballynahinch/Ulster), G Thornbury (UCD/Leinster); P Timmins (UCD/Leinster), R Murphy (Dolphin/Munster), C Joyce (Malone/Ulster).
Replacements: P Dooley (Lansdowne/Leinster)for Scott (40); D Panther (Corinthians/Connacht) for O’Meara (68);D Sweetnam (UCC/Munster) for Crosbie (75); J Andrew (Ballymena/Ulster) for McGuigan (75); J van der Flier for Scholes (78).