Ruaridh McConnochie made the switch from England 7s to Bath Rugby over the summer, and is already feeling at home in his new surroundings in the West Country.
The 26 year-old helped guide England to the final of the Rugby World Cup Sevens over the summer, and is now hoping to forge a new path with the Blue, Black and White.
Speaking on his time so far at the Club he said: “It’s been great – the first day was daunting, not only I was joining a new club but I was coming in two months after everyone else. It was a first day at school feeling, but everyone was so welcoming and really open to help on the training pitch and off.”
The Olympic and Commonwealth medallist admits that there have been a number of elements that he’s had to work on in making the transition from Sevens to 15s. However, he believes the qualities he’s learnt in the short format of the game will stand him in good stead over the next few years.
“It’s different - I knew it was going to be a big challenge. It’s the learning curve in terms of the amount of information to take on and the different kind of moves. In Sevens, there are limited moves you can run, so that was the big work on in the first couple of weeks. The main challenge was the thought process, taking in all the information and knowing the moves off by heart and not being seconds behind the playmaker. I have had to learn to be in the right position at the right time.”
“I have a high work rate. In Sevens, fitness is a massive thing and coming to Bath, I’ll need to be able to communicate whilst fatigued. I also feel I have the ability to beat people one on one and that is something that I want to keep working on.”
McConnochie has been able to pick the brains of the likes of Aled Brew and Semesa Rokoduguni on the training paddock, and believes that their input has been crucial to his early development at the Club.
“They have been really welcoming, if I’ve got any questions I’ll just go over and ask them and they will happily sit down and go through clips. I was chatting to Aled earlier about different roles a winger can do and how to get involved in the game without going hunting for the ball as much.”
McConnochie has already had his first taste of action in the Blue, Black and White scoring two in two games for Bath United against Bristol Bears A and Exeter Braves. Whilst happy to get over the whitewash, the 26 year-old is looking for further improvements when his next outing comes around.
“The tries were just about finishing really, but I have been really happy with my first couple of performances attacking wise. In defence, there is still a lot to work on in terms of reading the play and getting back into the defensive line.”
“Personally, I just want to enjoy my rugby here - I’m focusing firstly on improving my own skills. I’m embracing the Bath Rugby culture and the City itself, it’s amazing how much the city loves the Club and gets behind it. I’d put myself under too much stress if I said I want to play first team, I just want to make the most of my time here.”