Rugby World Cup 2019: The rise and rise of Ruaridh McConnochie, England’s new Sevens convert

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There are World Cup bolters, and then there is Ruaridh McConnochie. Four years ago, at the age of 23, he was not even registered to a professional rugby team while England were preparing to enter their doomed home Rugby World Cup. Now, he is prepared to head to one himself after the most incredible of rugby stories.

The Bath wing proved the biggest shock in a series of surprises from Eddie Jones as he made the final 31-man squad, despite not yet making his international debut. A hip flexor injury prevented him from winning his first cap in Sunday’s victory over Wales, though he is in line to feature in this Saturday’s return fixture in Cardiff. Yet that is only the latest chapter in a remarkable story that includes Olympic heartbreak, silver medals, Sevens World Cup agony and a swift rise through the ranks.

The 27-year-old from Tenterden in Kent has been through the selection mill before. With Sevens introduced to the Olympic programme in 2016, McConnochie found himself in heartbreak hotel when he was named as reserve for the men’s squad. But that agony turned to ecstasy when he was given the call-up to Simon Amor’s squad, going on to be part of the side that claimed the silver medal in the final.

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Two years later, it was the same again. In fact, McConnochie is the only World Cup finalist in Jones’ squad given England’s journey to the conclusion of the Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco. But where Fiji had halted England’s dream at the final hurdle in Rio de Janeiro, New Zealand were there to do the same.

The move to 15-a-side was in the pipeline though

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