Ruaridh McConnochie is on the cusp of a rare double – following up representing Britain at the Olympics with England selection for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
The 27-year-old was a reserve player in the British squad’s rugby sevens journey three years ago to Rio. However, injury to Alex Davies resulted in him getting into the 12-strong squad for the games in Brazil and the former Hartpury winger went on to win a silver medal.
Three years later, after signing for Bath in 2018, he has now secured selection in Eddie Jones’ 31-strong England squad for the World Cup despite yet having to win a Test cap having fought his way up the pecking order during this summer’s pre-season training.
“It was 10 weeks ago that getting invited into camp was awesome and I just tried to enjoy the moment as much as I can each week, not knowing what was going to happen at the end of each week,” he told RugbyPass.
“It was quite cool actually and quite peaceful, knowing I could just do my best and not have any regrets about it, thoroughly enjoyed it.”
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The winger picked up a hat trick of awards at Bath’s end-of-season dinner in May, including the supporters’ player of the year. He has since been a mainstay of the England training squad after Jones first called players together this summer and the head coach has been in constant contact with the up-and-coming prospect.
“He [Jones] has been pretty helpful in terms of coming in and just giving messages to me. The first thing he said was just be yourself, so that is what I have tried to do and not try be anyone else and try too hard. It’s been an enjoyable last eight weeks and I’ve loved it.”
On McConnochie’s selection, Jones commented: “Once he came into camp, he cemented our impression of him. He’s a mature boy, he can play a number of positions.”
Director of Rugby, Stuart Hooper gives his thoughts on the England Rugby World Cup squad announcement with five Bath Rugby players set for Japan. ?? pic.twitter.com/ty8NEgxq3m
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) August 12, 2019
McConnochie appreciates that his versatility helped his cause. “I guess that’s the challenges of the World Cup and the short turnaround in games. We’ve got a back three and centres that can do a few more than just one position, so that’s handy for us and it’s good to push ourselves.”
Having been a late withdrawal from last Sunday’s warm-up clash with Wales in London, he will be hoping to earn his first cap in the remaining three matches before England travel to Japan. How did he cope having to watch the victory over the Welsh?
“It was great to watch. Looking at the passion in the lads in the national anthem was one of my favourite bits. I’m looking forward to this weekend for that return fixture in Cardiff.”
WATCH: Owen Farrell talks to Nick Heath of RugbyPass following Monday’s RWC England squad announcement
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