News Article

Ruaridh McConnochie
27th September 2016

Yardley Court boys had an extra special visitor to assembly this week. Old boy and Olympic Silver medallist Ruaridh McConnochie!


Ruaridh joined YC in 2001 as a Year Four pupil, staying to Year Eight and bringing much to school life as a proud member of Nicholson house (that was for you Mr Shute!). Coached by Mr Coakley, with Mr Close, Mr Shute and Mr Green as his teachers, he has lots of happy memories of YC, with many of them captured in his very own retro photo presentation, shared with the boys by Mr C amongst looks of recognition and mirth. Yes, we do keep those snaps each year and we can find them when we really need them!


Ruaridh moved up to Cranbrook School, where he captained their Rugby Sevens team. He then spent a gap year in New Zealand and told our boys it was one of the best years of his life. He returned to the UK to start university, studying Sports Science at Gloucester with a view to a career in teaching. In his final year, his university coach gave him the confidence to try out for the England squad and he made it! In the last year alone, he has visited ten countries playing for England, with an amazing trip to Rio and a fantastic Rugby Sevens debut for Team GB at the Olympic Games. The GB squad only train together for ten weeks, in comparison to the years of training most other Olympic squads achieve. Expectations were pretty conservative in the run up to the Olympics, with most predicting a semi final appearance at best. To make it through to the final was a stunning result and we enjoyed hearing about the force of Fiji and the rush to get Team McConnochie over to Rio when Ruaridh was called up from the reserve list just a week before the match. ‚ÄčA dream come true!


As always, our YC boys were full of questions, including Do you drive a Lamborghini? No... a Mini. What were your favourite subjects at YC? Games and IT. Did you meet anyone famous at the Olympics? Yes, Andy Murray trained with us and I bumped in to Bradley Wiggins on my first day there. We also saw Usain Bolt run in the 100m final. Awesome and HUGE. Have you ever faced the Haka and was it scary? Yes and it certainly made me step back for a second. What position do you play? Fullback in 15s, Prop in 7s. Who inspired you the most? My Dad, making me play rugby from when I was very young. He also forgave me for choosing to play for England (he's Scottish). We did once beat Scotland 19-0. Sorry Dad.


Ruaridh was very gracious, signing a steady stream of souvenirs and stopping for dozens of pictures. His medal is very heavy and he was kind enough to give it to Mr C while he coached Year 7 and 8 before a quick school lunch and a chat to Pre-Prep.


Have a look at our photo album at https://www.flickr.com/photos/somerhillthree/albums/72157671071193114


Thank you Ruaridh! It was brilliant to see you and we wish you well in Dubai.


To learn more about Rugby Sevens and the England Squad, please see http://www.englandrugby.com/england/england-sevens/


Ruaridh's next tournament is in Dubai in December http://www.worldrugby.org/sevens-series/stage/1611

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