Since taking up the game with London Scottish at the age of seven, Ruaridh McConnochie has enjoyed a variety of experiences, including playing for Rangataua Rugby in New Zealand when he was a gap year student at Tauranga Boys College. But nothing compares with his contribution to Team GB winning the silver medal at the Rio Olympics last August. Ruaridh was called into the squad to replace the injured Alex Davis and he ended a terrific maiden sevens campaign in great style.
He had appeared for Nuneaton from 2012-14 and for Hartpury College and spent four years studying Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Gloucestershire. Ruaridh signed for England Sevens for 2015-16 and scored a remarkable debut try against Kenya in his first tournament in Dubai in December 2015. Richard De Carpentier caught a pinpoint restart kick from Tom Mitchell, fed Phil Burgess and Ruaridh popped up to take his pass near the posts.
England Sevens head coach Simon Amor said afterwards: “Ruaridh had one of the best debut tournaments I have ever seen.” He was unable to play in the Cape Town leg of the series the following weekend after being unable to recover from an injury to his lower back. He reappeared in the Wellington event in January last year and scored his first try on the circuit in the 19-5 pool win over the USA.
He played in his sixth tournament in Hong Kong in April and took his try total to seven overall with one in the 19-0 Plate final victory over the United States. He also played in the Singapore event the following week and took his try total in 19 events to 23 with two in Paris in May last year, together with two in Dubai, three in Cape Town in December and two in Sydney this February. He also touched down in the 14-12 quarter-final win over New Zealand in Vancouver the following month on the way to England’s gold medal success, added three more tries in Singapore this April, another in Paris and two in London.
Ruaridh played an integral role in England’s gold medal triumph in South Africa. He scored a last gasp try against Scotland to clinch a place in the semi-finals and was then named as the HSBC Player of the Final after his side beat the hosts 19-17.
Ruaridh was among six students from his university in the Great Britain Students side that won the 6th World University Sevens Championship in São José dos Campos in Brazil in August 2014. He said: “It was an awesome experience. To play in a World Championship is one thing but to come back with a gold medal is an incredible feeling. We obviously expected to do well but gold was far from certain.”
His other representative honours feature England Students and England Counties. He was educated at Yardley Court in Tonbridge, captained the sevens side at Cranbrook School and played for Cranbrook RFC. Ruaridh’s mentors have been Phil Llewellyn, his university and club coach, together with Nick Martin and Alex Presnell at Cranbrook School. He played as a wing until he was 18 before switching to full back.
He was Nuneaton’s player of the season, players’ player and best back for 2012-13 and his favourite ground is Liberty Way, the home of the National Three Midlands club. Ruaridh’s father Rennie played until a back injury at university ended his involvement on the field and his brothers Jamie and Callum have both figured at county level. His top players are Australia’s Stephen Larkham and All Blacks Christian Cullen and Ben Smith.
Last updated: 24 May 2017