Sciolari | Rugby World Cup: England wing Joe Cokanasiga – from dancer to main event
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Rugby World Cup: England wing Joe Cokanasiga – from dancer to main event

13 Nov Rugby World Cup: England wing Joe Cokanasiga – from dancer to main event

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By Mike Henson
BBC Sport
A hop, a different jag a burst of speed a measure inside, a canter beneath the posts – that the ball clutched in one hand and four prospective tacklers.
Joe Cokanasiga has scored attempts. He scored another two in Kobe at Englands 45-7 World Cup win over the United States.
He has 12 home from the Premiership.
However, the score which still defines him came on a chilly October afternoon before a rack and a just few million people.
Topsy Ojo had a chair. The wing had been left to provide Cokanasiga his Championship debut against London Scottish at 2016.
The response on the seat was shock and aweinspiring, he tells BBC Sport, recalling Cokanasigas stunning solo effort.
The situation that he got the ball initially – within his 22m – you would conventionally think he must clear it, but that isnt actually in his mentality.
His skillset is to run and conquer people. He just took off and 10 seconds later that he was beneath the sticks
I recall we all looked at each other, jaws available, such aswow, that was unique.
Video of the attempt spread quickly online. Just the most attentive audiences would spot the modest finger-point salute that Cokanasiga gets to the crowd as he goes though.
Im claiming that! States Phil Cokanasiga, the younger brother of Joe, London Irish potential and England international. I was stood next to the camera, but I understand he had been pointing at me
For much of his lifetime Phil had seen three years his senior, Joe, tearing up resistance defences and pitches.
I remember roughly 2008 or 2009, when I was eight or seven, we were playing for our school in Germany in a tag rugby tournament, Phil recalls.
Were both playing a year up and I went over to see him after Id finished my game. He had been all speed, he could not run over people clearly, and he was fairly good .
Germany was one stop in the globe-trotting childhood of the pair. Their second was Brunei, the state as they followed their dad Ilaitias deployments as part of the British Armys Royal Logistical center, perched to the island of Borneo in the South China Sea.
It had been there Joe started to turn his focus from football – where he was a – .
Larger, stronger and quicker than his peers, he had been fast-tracked out of the schoolboy rugby of Brunei alongside his dad for club side Bandar Blacks, playing to the sport.
Bruneis teenagers may have been spared the sight of Joe thundering in hand at them, but Phil wasnt.
The pair would play rugby in the backyard.
Phil would mimic the Waratahs Israel Folau. Joe preferred the Hurricanes Julian Savea. The only glimpses the set would capture of English rugby in Brunei were clips of strikes and fisticuffs. The pair proved interested by Manu Tuilagi and Chris Ashtons unforgettable punch-up at May 2011.
Four decades later and it turned out to be a Joe Cokanasiga , back in England and signed up to the London Irish academy than Ashton or even Tuilagi, making an appearance albeit at a cameo.
Cokanasiga was part of a Fijian dance troupe who played until the sides of Stuart Lancaster opener against the Islanders on the pitch, posing for photographs with fans who were unaware a future England star was in their own middle.
Joe may have abandoned Fiji as a three-year-old, but Ilaitia makes certain that legacy is remembered by his sons.
Dad constantly reminds Joe when he represents England, hes also a Fijian and never to forget his origins, says Phil.
He advised us back ourselves since were extremely different to most players.
A significant thing was optimism and to always feel I know that it seems big-headed – we are the best on the area, since it brings out the finest in us.
Touchline fathers tend to believe their sons are the ideal.
It is something when the players who had to compete against that identical offspring for a place concur.
Ojo has played nearly 200 top-flight matches as well as lining up in among his two England appearances contrary All Black hot-stepper Sitiveni Sivivatu.
Can he remember playing with or against anybody?
I played Alessana Tuilagi a great deal. He had been a enormous physical store, but hed likely run directly at you, Ojo said.
Then there are guys like Sinoti Sinoti that have a barbarous step, but not that offload danger – whereas Joe offloads such as Leone Nakarawa.
That was the thing that stood from me when I first saw him. The ball could be carried by him easily in one hand – that wasnt something that you would teach to children and it gave an extra threat to him.
You can not go low because he will only offload. It is tough to get close to the ball if you go high. Its a different threat from that which you face.
Growing up outside the machine assisted himgave him the capacity to do anything different. I cant think of anyone who has all those dangers in one package.
Cokanasigas opportunities may be restricted at the World Cup, with Anthony Watson and Jonny May established as Jack Nowell and first-choice choices accessible once again to head coach Eddie Jones.
However, when England are up against it and also need a game-breaker, he could dance on the World Cup point.
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