sport news Rugby news: Four years ago Ruaridh McConnochie was playing for £20 bar tokens

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() Rewind four years and Ruaridh McConnochie was playing social rugby in the 'Beer Cup' with a group of friends from university.

They arrived in Bournemouth with cheap plastic tents and a bag of jerseys – as well as ponchos, sombreros and tequila for a Mexican-themed social.

'We did that every year for six or seven years,' recalls McConnochie, who had just graduated from the University of Gloucestershire, where he shared a student house with seven friends.

Ruaridh McConnochie impressed for Bath and has been named in England's World Cup squad

Ruaridh McConnochie impressed for Bath and has been named in England's World Cup squad

'We didn't play in the good competition. We played in the 'Beer Cup' because, by the second day, we struggled to find seven people who weren't hungover! The WhatsApp group's still going!'

For McConnochie, rugby was then just a hobby to enjoy with his mates.

He played for Nuneaton RFC in the fifth tier – earning £20 in beer tokens for a victory – and his career ambitions were to become a PE teacher.

That all changed, however, when he fell into the slipstream of professional rugby.

The versatile wing was also part of the Team GB squad that won Olympic silver at Rio 2016

The versatile wing was also part of the Team GB squad that won Olympic silver at Rio 2016

Via the Olympic Games, where he won a silver medal in sevens, and one season in professional XVs, the 27-year-old has now been catapulted to the Rugby World Cup.

He was set to make his England debut last month, but injury struck and - third time lucky - he is now expected to win his first cap in the final Quilter Test against on Friday.

'I never dreamt that I'd be getting paid to play rugby and having a career out of it,' says McConnochie, whose university friends have scrambled for tickets to see the gangly winger they know as 'Limbs'.

'However much you're getting flogged these days, you stop and think, 'Hang on, my life could be much different'. It makes you appreciate everything.

'Back in the day, we trained at Nuneaton on cold and wet winter nights. Tuesdays and Thursdays. You'd drive an hour and a half to get there, do your backs skills, and drive back.

'Saturday was game day and you'd leave home in Cheltenham at 7am, go up and play a match in the Midlands – somewhere like Scunthorpe – then drive back for 9pm and go to work in a bar called Fever 'till 6am! 

'The student loan was a saviour. To be playing rugby now as a job is incredible. You kinda just roll with it…'

The wing and his University friends used to play in a social competition called the Beer Cup

The wing and his University friends used to play in a social competition called the Beer Cup

McConnochie revealed that four years ago he used to play rugby in the 'Beer Cup' with friends

McConnochie revealed that four years ago he used to play rugby in the 'Beer Cup' with friends

England coach Eddie Jones selected McConnochie despite a lack of experience at Test level

England coach Eddie Jones selected McConnochie

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