Rokoduguni scores two tries and is named man of the match on his England recall – but the Nausori-born winger’s career is typical of Fiji’s talent drain
Always quick with a quip, Eddie Jones promised “fish and chip” rugby – structured, controlled, aggressive, and traditionally English. “Stick it up your jumper, kick and clap,” Jones said, “I love fish and chips.” There was just a sprinkling of vinegar in the team too, to make things more interesting: Semesa Rokoduguni started on the wing, his first England game since he played against New Zealand in 2014. Rokoduguni, who has scored 27 tries in 48 Premiership games in the last three years, and has gained more metres, made more clean breaks and beaten more defenders than any other player in the league this season. Rokoduguni, who has, as his team-mate Dave Attwood says, real “razzle-dazzle”, a wing who can go “over, around, or through” anyone ahead of him.
The wonder was that it took Jones this long to get Rokoduguni (below) in the team. He scored two tries on Saturday, was involved in the run-up to a couple more, and so was picked as the man of the match. Rokoduguni kick-started England’s first attack with a deft sidestep inside Fiji’s full-back Metuisela Talebula and a short burst up the right wing. The move ended on the far side of the pitch, where Elliot Daly glided to the try-line, beating Talebula again on the way. Soon after, Rokoduguni scored his first. He took a quick flick of a pass from Alex Goode, then skipped out of Akapusi Qera’s desperate attempt at a tap-tackle. Rokoduguni regained his balance just in time to ricochet away off Benito Masilevu and dive across the line.