| 10.4°C Dublin

ENGLAND debutant Semesa Rokoduguni draws parallels between life in the British Army and international rugby - with one vital exception.

ENGLAND debutant Semesa Rokoduguni draws parallels between life in the British Army and international rugby - with one vital exception.

Rokoduguni has been selected on the right wing for tomorrow's QBE Series opener against New Zealand at Twickenham on the strength of the pace and power he has displayed in an impressive start to the season with Bath.

As a serving soldier with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the Fijian-born 27-year-old was deployed in Afghanistan in 2011 and it took only a week to experience the horrors of war when a marine he was on patrol with lost both legs after stepping on a mine.

Since joining the England camp Rokoduguni has satisfied the curiosity of his new team-mates eager for stories from Afghanistan.

"They've been asking me questions about the Army and what it's like being out there," Rokoduguni said.

"I told them it is pretty similar to what you guys feel - the only difference is that here there is always a next time. Next week you can come back stronger and better.

"Out there in Afghanistan you have to be on top of your drills every single time because if you mess up that can cost someone their life."

Kyle Eastmond, who lines up at inside centre against the All Blacks, summed up the temperament of his Bath team-mate with the words: "The way he's been playing, I don't think he knows what pressure is".

Rokoduguni insists his experiences in the army have left him well prepared for his rapid ascension.

"Out in Afghanistan you had to be spot on with your drills, be punctual and be disciplined. You had to be alert every single moment. That sort of mentality fits in well on the rugby pitch."

ENGLAND v NEW ZEALAND

Twickenham, Tomorrow

(KO 2.30) Live BBC1, Live Sky Sports 2


Privacy