And the Irish side were made to pay for their lacking personnel by a clinical French outfit - who, inspired by starring displays from Montpellier winger Pierre Bérard and Toulouse fly-half Jean-Marc Doussain - ran in six tries for the second consecutive week.
But despite being on the wrong end of a hammering at Dubarry Park, Ruddock's first reaction was to praise his side.
"We knew it was going to be tough, especially in the scrum," said Ruddock. "The French had a heavy unit there, a lot of big powerful boys.
"Obviously being a couple of guys down after last week, we really missed one or two of the guys that were part of the preparation over the longer term.
"But the guys dug in and showed a lot of spirit in the second half. We tried to play some football, but the quality of possession we were getting at times wasn't exactly what we wanted."
"Our lineout was fantastic - we stole some of theirs - and our kick-off structures worked great. We wanted to kick midfield and wider out to stop the big French pack rumbling on. We didn't just want to kick to their pack and let them drive on.
"We fell off a couple of tackles in the first half which was disappointing, because we highlighted the collisions as being very important.
"We dug in and kept trying hard, and obviously it would be great to get some of those guys from the Magners (League) back for the next game."