sport

Rokoduguni stakes Test claim

Semesa Rokoduguni believes Sunday's game against the Barbarians will provide a good measure of his Test credentials.

Bath winger Rokoduguni will line up for an England XV in the non-cap international at Twickenham which serves as a warm-up to the national team's three-match tour of New Zealand.

The Fiji-born speedster will use the match as preparation for a potential head-to-head with All Blacks such as Hosea Gear and Joe Rokocoko.

Rokoduguni is the fourth generation of his family to serve in the British Army and has it written into his Bath contract that he will return to active service as a tank driver with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards if Britain goes to war.

But for now the focus is on securing full England honours.

"There are so many wonderful players in the Barbarians team, who have been playing a lot longer than me and have so much international experience," Rokoduguni said.

"It's a fantastic chance for me to gauge my performance against some of the best players in the world.

"We have some excellent players in our England team too, so it's going to be exciting.

"To be recognised by England, it's wonderful. The Army is in my family's blood, my father and my younger brother are both serving now too.

"The first time my dad asked me what I wanted to do I told him I wanted to be a soldier.

"I never knew rugby would happen for me too: my family are all really, really proud of me, they love it.

"Fijians are playing rugby all over the world, in Australia, New Zealand, even France.

"The world is such a small place really these days. My dad said 'I want you to play for England, I would love it if that happened'.

"The Army give people opportunities that wouldn't be there otherwise. When you have a responsibility to the force, and they provide you with so much, it's not a difficult choice to make to want to represent England."

Rokoduguni won England Saxons honours earlier in the term and scored at Twickenham on May 3 as the Army saw off the Navy 30-17 in the annual inter-services challenge.

His attacking threat caught coach Gary Gold's eye in a training match for the Army against Newcastle Falcons and the South African coach snapped up the raw talent when he moved to Bath.

Rokoduguni believes there are other Army players who have the quality to play Premiership rugby, notably full-back James Dixon.

"It's rare for a serving soldier to come straight from the Premiership into the England side, that's a massive thing for the Army boys," he said.

"It just shows us what the Army players can do hopefully, and I know they are keen to see more do the same thing.

"I would say Dixon our full-back can do it; he's only 20, but he's got great kicking skills and he's so dangerous with ball in hand."