England Saxons call up Semesa Rokoduguni
January 17, 2014
Bath's Semesa Rokoduguni is in the Saxons squad © PA Photos
England Saxons have named Bath Rugby's Semesa Rokodoguni in the 25-man training squad for their match against Ireland Wolfhounds on January 25.
The group includes 10 players from outside the Saxons EPS with nine getting a call up for the first time. Forwards Alex Waller (Northampton Saints), Dave Ward, Charlie Matthews (both Harlequins) and Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) have all got the nod alongside backs Dave Lewis, Henry Slade, Sam Hill (all Exeter Chiefs), and Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby).
Wasps' Tom Varndell (London Wasps) returns to the squad for the first time since 2009. Gloucester's Henry Trinder misses out due to injury.
"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," Stuart Lancaster said. "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."
The Saxons will be led by Joe Lydon, the RFU's head of international development, alongside head coach Jon Callard.
Forwards: Nathan Catt (Bath Rugby), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Will Collier (Harlequins), Sam Dickinson (Northampton Saints), Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs), Jamie George (Saracens), Jamie Gibson (Leicester Tigers), Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers), George Kruis (Saracens), Charlie Matthews (Harlequins), Luke Wallace (Harlequins), Alex Waller (Northampton Saints), Dave Ward (Harlequins), Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)
Backs: Miles Benjamin (Leicester Tigers), Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby), Elliot Daly (London Wasps), Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Dave Lewis (Exeter Chiefs), Joe Simpson (London Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Mathew Tait (Leicester Tigers), Tom Varndell (London Wasps)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Firdose Moonda talks to Rob Louw about the difficulties of being a South African touring New Zealand at the height of Apartheid
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games