Ruaridh McConnochie thrilled at shock England World Cup selection

Injury denied Ruaridh McConnochie his first England cap in their opening World Cup warm up match against Wales
Injury denied Ruaridh McConnochie his first England cap in their opening World Cup warm up match against Wales

Ruaridh McConnochie will complete a rare Olympics and Rugby World Cup double when he heads to Japan with England next month.

The 27-year-old Bath wing is the solitary uncapped player in England boss Eddie Jones' 31-man squad for the tournament.

And his selection comes three years after he was part of Great Britain's silver medal-winning rugby sevens squad at the Rio Olympics.

Previously an England regular on the world sevens circuit, Kent-born McConnochie's World Cup call follows just one season with Bath.

But his lightning pace and try-scoring ability thrust him into England contention, and a Test debut potentially awaits against World Cup warm-up opponents Wales in Cardiff next Saturday.

"I went to the Olympics as a travelling reserve, but it's still the same kind of excitement," he said. "It's incredible.

"The World (sevens) Series is handy in playing in front of those crowds and the excitement for those tournaments, but this is a new challenge for me.

"I am massively excited. We have trained incredibly hard and I have really enjoyed it.

"Ten weeks ago, getting invited into camp was awesome and I have just tried to enjoy the moment as much as I can each week.

A guide to every nation competing at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan
READ: A guide to every nation competing at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan

"The first thing he (Jones) said was to just be myself, and that's what I have tried to do and not tried to be anyone else. It has been really enjoyable.

"I spoke to my parents and girlfriend (after selection). They've been supporting me since the start of the journey, and they were overwhelmed with it.

"Dad is quite an emotional bloke, so he loved it."

Feelings were similar for Northampton flanker Lewis Ludlam, who made an impressive England debut in their 33-19 warm-up victory over Wales on Sunday.

His first senior game for Saints was only three years ago, but he rocketed into World Cup contention under Jones' watchful eye this summer.

Ludlam, 23, said: "It has been a bizarre few weeks, really. I never really expected to be in camp for this long, and Sunday was a surreal experience for me.

"The coaches are always watching while you are in camp, so every day has been a matter of trying to impress the coaches and trying to hold yourself in a good light.

"It was a brilliant day on Sunday, and it is probably all just sinking in at the moment.

"I haven't caught up with all my good luck messages yet. The phone has been going off constantly and I am just getting around to replying to everyone.

"I think I was watching (the 2015 World Cup) in the pub, so it's a surreal experience to be picked for this World Cup and be part of it."

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