Afterwards while Ruddock declared himself "really, really proud of the boys," Blacks skipper Ardie Savea, summed up the mood in his dressing room with, "I think the boys are just relieved,"
Crucial to the outcome perhaps was the yellow card handed to Thomas Farrell just before half-time. At that stage Ireland trailed 14-11 but by the time first-half try scorer Farrell had returned the Blacks had raced into a 26-11 lead and shortly after looked out of sight when Epelahame Faiva scored his second try to extend the lead to twenty points.
However, as they'd shown in the prior game against Australia, patience and perseverance is the cornerstone of Ruddock's side and they inched their way back into contention with tries from Dan Leavy and Edward Byrne.
Rory Scannell - who had kicked two early penalties - added the extras to Byrne's try and with ten minutes to go Scannell landed another penalty to leave his side trailing by just five points.
Despite massive pressure in the closing stages, Ireland just failed to get the score that would have sent them through to the semis.
Ireland: D Leader; A Byrne, T Farrell, R Scannell, R Scholes; S Crosbie, L McGrath; P Dooley, G McGuigan, C Taylor; G Thornubury, J Donnan; D Leavy, J van der Flier, C Joyce. Replacements: D Sweetnam for Byrne (34 mins), B Byrne for McGuigan (49 mins), E Byrne for Dooley (49 mins), P Timmins for Thornbury (49 mins), R Murphy for Joyce (67 mins), M Roche for Crosbie (67 mins), D Shanahan for McGrath (76 mins), A Boland for Taylor (79 mins).