Owen Farrell This is another glamorous item.
A year ago Ruaridh McConnochie went to Twickenham for a game of rugby and had to pay to get in.
A sevens player without a XVs contract, McConnochie watched the Premiership final unfold from the stands oblivious to the fact that a year later his rugby life would be totally transformed.
At much the same time Lewis Ludlam was fighting for a future in professional rugby up at Northampton whilst out west Jack Singleton and Willi Heinz were going about their business somewhere beneath the England radar.
Back then the odds on their phones bleeping simultaneously to congratulate them on World Cup selection would have been higher than the Shard.
Yet mid-morning yesterday the quartet, with three caps and just 120 minutes of Test rugby between them, found themselves catapulted onto the global stage.
While Red Rose stalwarts like Chris Robshaw, Danny Care, Mike Brown and Dylan Hartley were consigned to the past, Eddie Jones introduced his bolters to the world.
“A year ago I would not have believed it,” said McConnochie, who even now is uncapped and has only 12 Premiership starts for Bath to his name. “Not at all.
“While I’d love to say all the clubs were coming to me in actual fact it was a bit of both. We were asking around. I remember thinking ‘why am I trying to fix something that isn’t broken because I love sevens?’
But then McConnochie, a member of Team GB’s silver medal-winning Olympic side in Rio, thought of Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal in 2003 and Jason Robinson’s heroics in 2007 and knew he had to chase his World Cup dream.
“If, at the end of the first year it wasn’t going well, that’s life,” said the 27-year-old wing. “But I’d have hated to have retired from the sevens and not given it a try.”
Jones has amassed 1,007 caps in his squad for Japan, significantly less than the 1,484 New Zealand recruited to win the World Cup last time round.
He has made big calls in preferring Piers Francis, with two c
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