Fiji has produced some of the best players in world rugby. Playing in all four corners of the globe, many have been adopted by other nations as international players and have gone on to become proud and influential members of those teams.
They have brought natural skill and ability and immense physicality to many international teams, clubs, and provinces. A number of Fijian players ply their trade in Europe, and in England we have been fortunate enough to have some fine players representing our clubs and the England national team,Embed from Getty Images
Players like Nathan Hughes and more recently Joe Cokanasiga have made a huge impact in the English game for club and country. The player I want to talk about has represented Bath, England and the British Army. Of course, I’m talking about Semesa Rokoduguni.
In his day job, ‘Roko’ is a serving soldier with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and saw action in Afghanistan in 2011. In 2012 his rugby career took off when he signed for Bath RFC. He began his professional club career with a bang by scoring twice on his debut. At the time of writing Roko has played in over 150 games for Bath RFC and has scored over fifty tries.
Between 2014 and 2017 he was capped for the England Saxons, and then the England men’s senior team against the All Blacks, Argentina, Samoa, and Fiji. He has scored 4 international tries, two of which were against Fiji. I’m sure he had mixed emotions that day but being the complete professional, he had a job to do and delivered what was expected.Embed from Getty Images
Roko’s default position is on the right wing but he has also been known to play in the centre and has played at full back for the British Army team. His combination of speed, power, and a lethal sidestep makes him a fine finisher and has led to an impressive amount of tries.
“In that match, Rokoduguni’s international quality was there for all to see.”
I was lucky enough to see him play in the Army v Royal Navy match at Twickenham a few years ago. The Army team has always had a number of highly talented Fijian players, and It’s no coincidence that the Army’s record of success over the Navy is quite impressive. In that match, Rokoduguni’s international quality was there for all to see.Embed from Getty Images
His playing days as an England international may now be behind him but like many other fans, I would like world rugby to review the laws regarding players only representing one nation. It would be great to see players like Rokoduguni given the opportunity to represent the country of their birth as well.
This was possible in the past and I think it’s something that seriously needs to be looked at again for the future. With the changes currently taking place in the game, it may happen. Hopefully in time for us all to see Roko pull on the Fijian jersey and perform the Cibi in front of a cheering Fijian crowd.
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Semesa is one of my favourite players to watch. Please join in the conversation, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of the article.
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