LONDON Scottish product Ruaridh McConnochie is the latest addition to Team GB for the Olympic Games, which get under way with the Opening Ceremony tomorrow evening.
The 24-year-old England Sevens player, who has Scottish parentage, replaces the injured Alex Davis in the 12-man Great Britain squad who will compete when rugby sevens makes its Olympics debut next week.
McConnochie started playing rugby with London Scottish at the age of seven and has also played at full-back for Nuneaton RFC, Hartpury College and had a stint in New Zealand with Rangataua.
His father Rennie played the game until a back injury at university ended his playing career and, when he was called into the England Sevens set-up for the first time in 2013, McConnochie said: “My mum and dad are both Scottish through and through. They’ve had a good joke about it all. They’ve not disowned me yet.”
Davis had to withdraw from the GB squad, which includes Scots Mark Bennett and Mark Robertson, following an injury to his right ankle.
The 23-year-old sustained the injury during training, at the Team GB preparation camp in Belo Horizonte, ahead of the men’s competition commencing on 8 August at Deodoro Stadium.
McConnochie, one of two travelling reserves, will step into the 12-man-squad while Charlie Hayter will fly to Rio and provide replacement cover alongside Luke Treharne.
GB coach Simon Amor said: “It has been a tough year for Alex for a number of reasons and to have this set back is incredibly disappointing for him. He is a valued character within this close squad of players and also one of the most mentally resilient people I know. He will come back from this and I’m confident he will have a strong career for England Sevens and with Team GB at the Olympics in four years’ time.
“Since day one of coming together as GB Sevens this group has had to adapt and they have done so better than I thought possible. Ruaridh will become part of the competing 12 and the group will continue to pull together as the focus remains on delivering for Team GB in Rio.
“It has been an amazing 12 months for Ruaridh who has played in all but one of the tournaments in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series this year. He is here as a travelling reserve and can cover a number of positions. He is on excellent form and will take this in his stride and give it everything.
“Charlie will meet us in Rio and was unfortunate to miss out on the original selection. He was coming back from injury at the start of the GB programme, which put him behind a couple of others in that position, but finished the preparation tournaments strongly and is primed to provide additional cover.”