Semesa Rokoduguni gets first England Saxons call in much-changed squad

Last Updated: 25/01/14 1:05pm

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Semesa Rokoduguni: Saxons chance for Bath winger

Semesa Rokoduguni: Saxons chance for Bath winger

Sky Bet

Bath winger Semesa Rokoduguni is one of a number of newcomers in a 25-man England Saxons training squad.

Fiji-born Rokoduguni scored a pair of tries on his return from injury in the Amlin Challenge Cup win over Bordeaux-Begles on Thursday.

He is the latest player to get a chance of international recognition while still serving in the Armed Forces - Rokoduguni is a member of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

The party includes 10 players from outside the Saxons Elite Player Squad, nine of those making their first appearance at this level, most of them coming in as replacements for players promoted to the Senior squad.

Among them are three young prospects from the Exeter Chiefs - Dave Lewis, Henry Slade and Sam Hill - while there is a call for Wasps winger Tom Varndell, who has not been in a Saxons squad since 2009.

Their first game comes on January 25 against the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds at Kingsholm and they go on to face Scotland A in Glasgow on January 31.


Head coach Stuart Lancaster said: "Our philosophy on selection is to give some younger players an opportunity alongside one or two more established players who are looking to push into the Senior squad.

"It is a great opportunity for players to put a marker down and show they have the ability to go from club to country and still deliver the club form many of them have been showing. The opportunities ahead of them are clear with a major tour to New Zealand to come this summer before the Rugby World Cup next year.

"We have a good blend in the backline with the likes of Henry Slade and Sam Hill stepping up from England Under 20 side that won the Junior World Championship last summer.

"In the back three, we're all excited about seeing Mathew Tait in an England shirt once more and having him, Elliot Daly, Tom Varndell and Semesa Rokoduguni available means we're strong in that area, and we will rotate the squad so everyone will get an opportunity.

"We've followed Semesa's progress since his days in the British Army, he's excited about playing England after qualifying by residence and his form and the feedback from the Bath coaches has been excellent this season."

Forwards: Catt (Bath), Clark (Northampton), Collier (Harlequins), Dickinson (Northampton), Ewers (Exeter), George (Saracens), Gibson (Leicester), Kitchener (Leicester), Kruis (Saracens), Matthews (Harlequins), Wallace (Harlequins), Waller (Northampton), Ward (Harlequins), Wilson (Newcastle).

Backs: Benjamin (Leicester), Burns (Gloucester), Daly (Wasps), Hill (Exeter), Joseph (Bath), Lewis (Exeter), Simpson (Wasps), Slade (Exeter), Rokoduguni (Bath), Tait (Leicester), Varndell (Wasps).

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