Full name Josevata Taliga Rokocoko
Born June 6, 1983, Nadi
Current age 29 years 350 days
Major teams Auckland, Barbarians, Bayonne, Blues, New Zealand
Height 6 ft 2 in
Weight 216 lb
|IRB Rugby World Cup||2003-2007||8||8||0||55||11||0||0||0||6||2||0||75.00|
|The Rugby Championship||2003-2010||29||28||1||75||15||0||0||0||21||8||0||72.41|
|Test debut||New Zealand v England at Wellington, Jun 14, 2003 match details|
|Last Test||England v New Zealand at Twickenham, Nov 6, 2010 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Josevata Taliga Rokocoko, more commonly known as Joe Rokocoko, is one of the most lethal finishers in the game and combines blistering speed and deceptive power to often devastating effect.
Born in Fiji, he moved to Auckland in New Zealand with his family when he was 5-years-old and would later go on to carve an impressive junior rugby career with international recognition at U16, U19 - winning the IRB Junior World Cup crown in 2001 - and U21 level and also appearing for the New Zealand 7s side.
He made his Super 12 bow for the Blues in 2003, before he had played for Auckland, and helped inspire them to the Super 12 crown. He was subsequently rewarded for an impressive domestic season with his first All Blacks cap against England at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington in June the same year. The then 19-year-old Rokocoko was the youngest player selected for the All Blacks since another great wing Jonah Lomu in 1994.
The speedster would go on to set the world stage alight with a total of 17 tries in 12 Tests appearances in 2003 - a world record for a calendar year - including hat-tricks against France and Australia.
An obvious choice for New Zealand's 2003 Rugby World Cup squad he would go on to score six tries in five appearances in the tournament - only bettered by team mates Doug Howlett and Mils Muliaina who both scored 7 tries in 7 appearances.
Rokocoko continued to inflict damage to the world's best with reigning world champions England put to the sword in 2004 with the winger scoring his third Test hat-trick and he made his Auckland debut the same year. He would continue his prolific scoring rate throughout the next two years, including New Zealand's grand slam tour of the UK & Ireland in 2005, switching on occasion to the right-wing in 2006, from his more accustomed left-wing berth, to accommodate fellow speedster Sitiveni Sivivatu.
His second Rugby World Cup appearance followed in 2007 and once again he weighed in on the try-count with 5 scores in just three appearances including his fourth Test hat-trick against Romania.
A wrist injury suffered on Super 14 duty and subsequent surgery meant Rokocoko had to wait 13-months before his next international appearance against Scotland on what would prove to be another grand slam tour of the UK & Ireland for the All Blacks. He failed to add to his Test try tally on the tour but did score a crucial try in the historic clash with Munster at Thomond Park that secured a narrow 18-16 triumph.
Rokocoko notched another record in 2010 when selected for the opening Bledisloe Cup clash of the year against Australia in Melbourne with his 64th Test appearance moving him ahead of John Kirwan and Jonah Lomu as the most capped All Blacks winger of all time. Typically, he marked the occasion with a try, his 46th, pulling him level with Christian Cullen in New Zealand's all-time try-scoring rankings, just three behind record holder Doug Howlett.
Just after the completion of the All Blacks' historic Tri-Nations campaign, which saw them win all six of their games, Rokocoko announced that he had signed a new deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) which would take him up to and including the 2011 World Cup.
Rokocoko appeared just once during the All Blacks' Grand Slam winning tour of the northern hemisphere in 2010. Despite being a key part of the Blues passage to the Super Rugby semi-finals in 2011, Rokocoko found himself omitted from Graham Henry's 2011 Tri-Nations squad. Following the completion of the ITM Cup, if Rokocoko misses out on World Cup selection, he will join Bayonne in the Top 14 sooner than previously expected.