Ruaridh McConnochie has set his sights on a final swansong with England after being named in their Sevens World Cup squad.
The 26-year-old is switching to the XV-a-side game following the tournament after signing a contract with Gallagher Premiership side Bath.
He agreed a move to The Rec in January, but after three years of representing England on the Sevens stage, he is hoping there will be a fairy tale ending in San Francisco this weekend.
“It has been nice to concentrate fully on the Sevens,” said McConnochie.
“To be able to go to the Commonwealth Games and then Singapore was awesome and it was great to be part of that ‘Team England’ experience.
“Hopefully it could be a big final swansong with the Sevens and to represent England at a World Cup with a group of mates is a really nice thing to be able to finish on.”
McConnochie thought his final involvement for England may have been in Singapore back in April. He returned home to find out he would have to have surgery which put his World Cup ambitions in doubt.
He added: “The past few months have been a bit tricky. It was always going to be 50/50 whether or not I would be back in time.
“Coming back from Singapore and to find out I would be having surgery was tough because I thought that could be the last time I would represent England before going into the XV a-side game and I didn’t even know it.
“It would have been an anti-climax so that added to my determination to give myself the best chance to be in contention for World Cup selection and I am really glad that I left no stone unturned in the rehab process.”
Simon Amor announced his squad last week which includes 10 bronze medallists from the recent Commonwealth Games and six players who were part of the Team GB side that won silver at the Rio Olympics two years ago.
The side will be led by Tom Mitchell and with the likes of Mike Ellery, James Rodwell and Dan Norton also amongst the England ranks, the experience plus a mix of youth, could be key to their success over in America.
“It [experience] is huge,” added McConnochie. “We have spoken to ourselves about these big tournaments and how we have made it count over the years.
“We have got those players that have been there in those high-pressure environments. You have got James Rodwell who has been here for yonks and he is a player who has done it over and over again!
“It is so key to have those cool heads in those times and hopefully we can build on our experiences, but also, we have younger players coming through who can play with that freedom.
“They can play without anything holding them down and for someone like Will Muir, it has been incredible for him and hopefully he has a great tournament.”
England, themselves, will be aiming for a positive competition in San Francisco. Despite failing to win any of the events on the World Sevens Circuit, they head to California with momentum behind them after podium finishes in France (Paris and Marcoussis) as well as a recent Cup win in Exeter.
McConnochie continued: “It has been great to be part of recent squads to keep our results going.
“If you look at the comparisons of where we were at the beginning of the season to where we are now, it is really good.
“Out of the last six competitions we have had, we’ve had five podium finishes so that momentum is there and now we are looking to put the icing on the cake when it comes to San Fran.”
England, who finished fifth in the World Sevens Series, are seeded fourth for the World Cup behind South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand and will take on either Samoa or Uganda at 04:09 on Saturday morning (BST).
Unlike the HSBC World Sevens Series, the World Cup is a straight knockout event and even though there will be more pressure on individual matches, McConnochie is optimistic England can put on a show in San Francisco as he aims to end on a high.
He added: “To really hit our stride come San Fran, is massively important. We have had to learn lessons about what works well and what doesn’t throughout the season to try and find the best out of our abilities.
“We are hugely confident. The momentum is a massive thing and we feel like we have been getting better and better in each tournament.
“For me, at the moment, I am just trying to get over being included and trying to concentrate fully on the World Cup. It will be awesome. I have been lucky to go to the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games and come away with silver and bronze medals.
“To be able to get a gold in a World Cup would be pretty incredible. A lot of young players dream of that and it would be an awesome achievement.”