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Fijian Rose

Rashneel Kumar
Saturday, January 18, 2014

WINGER Semesa Rokoduguni is a step closer to becoming the first Fiji-born player to don the England jumper.

The 26-year-old British Army soldier is set to be named in the England Saxons squad to face the Irish Wolfhounds next week in their pre-Six Nations preparation.

England Saxons is the shadow England national team used to develop emerging talents into Test level rugby.

Rokoduguni qualifies for England via residency having served in the British Army since 2007.

According to an exclusive report in British tabloid The Guardian, the Bath and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards player could yet develop into a late contender for Stuart Lancaster's England 2015 Rugby World Cup side.

The Guardian rated Rokoduguni a "strong and pacy" player.

Rokoduguni, who was sidelined by a knee injury, made a brilliant return for Bath after scoring a double in the 54-13 Amlin Challenge Cup win against Bordeaux-Begles yesterday.

With top choice English wingers Manu Tuilagi, Marland Yarde, Christian Wade and Ben Foden all recovering from injury, The Guardian says "the selection of the 6ft, 15st Rokoduguni offers up the tantalising possibility of a full cap at some stage this year".

"England continue to seek fit wingers capable of posing a greater try-scoring threat out wide and the national coaches have been impressed by Rokoduguni's excellent stats with ball in hand this season.

"Bath's head coach Mike Ford has been recommending him to the national management for some time, suggesting he is the best option currently available.

"Despite the fact his regiment has been based in Germany, where he played club rugby in Hanover, his eligibility is understood not to be an issue and, as an accomplished sevens player, he could also nudge the selectors ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics."

Rokoduguni looks up to former Flying Fijian and Gloucester number eight Apolosi Satala, who also played for the British Army.

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