University of Gloucestershire alumni Ruaridh McConnochie selected in England’s Rugby World Cup training squad.

There are few sevens players that have a smooth transition into the 15s game, however, University of Gloucestershire alumni Ruaridh McConnochie has earnt himself a place in the England World Cup training squad following his outstanding debut season with Bath rugby.

“Cool, calm and collected” is how University of Gloucestershire’s rugby union (UGRFC) coach Chris Downes describes the club’s former player, as Eddie Jones included him as one of his 35 players ahead of the warm up games this summer. 

The 27-year-old made a seamless switch onto the 15-a-side stage in November following his successful career as an Olympic sevens player, in which he won Sliver at Rio 2016 with Team GB. In his first season with Bath he picked up three end of season club awards and was first called up to the England camp in June for the preliminary World Cup squad. 

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McConnochie never set out to become a professional rugby player but it was his commitment that made him stand out whilst at university as coach Downes recalls: 

“The difference of what Ruaridh had to maybe others that were more talented was the massive work ethic, his attention to detail and appetite for being the best that he can possibly be; that is probably what sets him apart from the rest. 

“I don’t think he ever came to university to become a professional rugby player, he was probably one of those late developers, but he came to university, embraced university life and his rugby just got better and better and his game is still improving now at the age that he is.”

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His ability to beat the first defender and ball in hand skills will be one of the reasons he was called up into the training squad, but there is a lot of unseen work that McConnochie does that will have impressed the England boss. 

For the university, McConnochie is a great inspiration especially for those boys still involved in the UGRFC set up:

“He has always been the shining light, the success story of recent years for the club, a lot of our players now are going onto play national and international rugby so he definitely sets a standard for the guys and hopefully he can act as a focus for the boys to understand what they can achieve if they put their mind to it.” 

England face Wales, Ireland and Italy over the summer as they prepare for the World Cup in Japan in September as Ruaridh McConnochie’s international debut looks to be looming.

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