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Joe Cokanasiga (/ˈðɒkænəˌsɪŋə/;[3] born 15 November 1997) is an English-Fijian professional rugby union footballer who plays for the England national rugby union team. He plays wing for Bath, having previously represented London Irish. He helped his former team win promotion from the RFU Championship in 2016–17 season to the English Premiership for the 2017–18 season.[4]

Joe Cokanasiga
Birth nameRatu Josateki Tuivanuavou Waqanivalu Cokanasiga
Date of birth (1997-11-15) 15 November 1997 (age 22)
Place of birthSuva, Fiji
Height1.94 m (6 ft 4 12 in)[1]
Weight118 kg (260 lb; 18 st 8 lb)[2]
SchoolBushey Academy
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Old Merchant Taylors' FC ()
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2017–2018
2018–
London Irish
Bath
16
13
(20)
(40)
Correct as of 7 July 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2017
2018–
England U20
England
4
9
(10)
(35)
Correct as of 26 September 2019

Early lifeEdit

Cokanasiga was born in Fiji but before his first birthday, moved to England with his father, Ilaitia, who was in the British Army. He has lived in Germany and Brunei as his father toured those countries and learned to play rugby. They formed a father-son centre partnership for the Army Vets team before returning to the UK in 2013.[5]

Joe's first adult rugby match - on his 17th birthday - was for Old Merchant Taylors' FC on 15 November 2014, vs HAC. OMTs were then playing in London 2NW (Level 7). Joe became the top try-scorer for the club, despite only playing a part of the season. Joe continued to play for OMT and Team Honeybadger 7s throughout 2015, before moving to London Irish.

Joe cites All Black Jonah Lomu as his hero as well as Julian Savea, David Boland and Bath wing Semesa Rokoduguni as his idols.[6]

Professional careerEdit

He joined the London Irish academy in 2015 and played for their sevens team in the Premiership Rugby Sevens Series[7] and in October 2016, he signed a two-year deal to stay with the club.[8] He made his debut in the 2016–17 RFU Championship on 30 October 2016 against London Scottish and scored a brilliant individual try beating multiple defenders, demonstrating his raw power and pace.[9]

International careerEdit

In 2016 Cokanasiga played for the England U18 side that toured South Africa.[10] In the 2017 Six Nations Under 20 Championship he played in England U20 side against France, scoring a try.[11]

Cokanasiga was called up to the senior England squad by Eddie Jones for their 2017 summer tour of Argentina.[12] When questioned on why he had plucked the player from relative obscurity, Eddie Jones was typically blunt: “He’s big and he’s fast.”[13] He did not actually play due to picking up an injury in London Irish's end-of-season playoff battles for promotion from the Championship back to the Premiership.[14]

In November 2018, Cokanasiga was selected to make his international test debut against Japan. Eddie Jones, citing his reasons for the selection, simply stated “He’s got power and he’s got pace, there’s something a little bit special about him”. Cokanasiga scored on his international debut in a hard-fought win over Japan.[15] He retained his place for the next match in the Quilter Autumn Internationals, against Australia, and put in a powerful performance capped by a try in the second half.[16]

International triesEdit

As of 26 September 2019 [17]
Try Opposing team Location Venue Competition Date Result Score
1   Japan London, England Twickenham Stadium 2018 Autumn Internationals 17 November 2018 Win 35 – 15[18]
2   Australia London, England Twickenham Stadium 2018 Autumn Internationals 24 November 2018 Win 37 – 18[19]
3   Wales London, England Twickenham Stadium 2019 Rugby World Cup warm-up match 11 August 2019 Win 33 – 19[20]
4   Ireland London, England Twickenham Stadium 2019 Rugby World Cup warm-up match 24 August 2019 Win 57 – 15[21]
5
6   United States Kobe, Japan Kobe Misaki Stadium 2019 Rugby World Cup 26 September 2019 Win 45 – 7[22]
7

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.englandrugby.com/england/senior-men/squad/joe-cokanasiga
  2. ^ https://www.englandrugby.com/england/senior-men/squad/joe-cokanasiga
  3. ^ "Joe Cokanasiga on his Fijian name and playing for Eddie Jones". 27 March 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  4. ^ "London Irish confirm squad for the 2017/18 campaign". London Irish. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Joe Cokanasiga's meteoric ascent and how England came calling". The Telegraph. 29 April 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2017. formed a father-son centre partnership
  6. ^ "No ordinary Joe: England U20's flying winger". Rugby Football Union. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  7. ^ "London Irish Name Squad for Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series". London Irish. Retrieved 9 May 2017. Singha Premiership Rugby
  8. ^ "Seven Academy players commit future to London Irish". London Irish. Retrieved 9 May 2017. Joe Cokanasiga has penned a two-year deal with Irish
  9. ^ "London Irish move in to top gear to overpower Scottish at the Athletic Ground". londonscottish.com. Retrieved 9 May 2017. with a brilliant individual try from Joe Cokanasiga.
  10. ^ "U18 name squad for South Africa Schools A clash". Rugby Football Union. 15 October 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Malins on fire as England Under-20s get off to a flyer". rbs6nations.com. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  12. ^ "England v Argentina: Dylan Hartley, Joe Launchbury & George Ford in squad". BBC Sport. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  13. ^ Meagher, Gerard (15 November 2018). "Joe Cokanasiga has power and pace to add to England's strength in depth". the Guardian. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  14. ^ "REACTION: Kennedy on reaching the final, Cokanasiga injury and facing Yorkshire – The Wokingham Paper". The Wokingham Paper. 6 May 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  15. ^ Twickenham, Paul Rees at (17 November 2018). "Joe Cokanasiga scores debut try to help spare England's blushes against Japan" – via www.theguardian.com.
  16. ^ "England 37-18 Australia: May, Daly, Cokanasiga and Farrell all cross". 24 November 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  17. ^ "Joe Cokanasiga". 11 July 2019.
  18. ^ "England 35-15 Japan". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  19. ^ "England 37-18 Australia". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  20. ^ "England 39-19 Wales". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  21. ^ {{cite web|url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/rugby-union/46763856%7Ctitle=England 57-15 Ireland|publisher=bbc.co.uk|accessdate=27th October 2019
  22. ^ {{cite web|url=https://www.skysports.com/rugby-union/england-vs-usa/85558%7Ctitle=England 45-7 USA|publisher=skysports.com|accessdate=27th October 2019

External linksEdit