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Rokoduguni makes rugby history
Semesa Rokoduguni in Bath colours. He has made history by being the first Fijian named in the England rugby team.

Rokoduguni makes rugby history

British Army soldier Semesa Rokoduguni has made history by being the first Fijian named in the England rugby union squad for the autumn internationals.

Rokoduguni is among three uncapped players named by coach Stuart Lancaster, the others are Saracens second row George Kruis and Northampton flanker Calum Clark.

Semesa Rokoduguni breaks clear to score for Bath against Saracens in the Aviva Premiership this year.

Semesa Rokoduguni breaks clear to score for Bath against Saracens in the Aviva Premiership this year.

Clark has been in the squad before but Rokoduguni, 27, and Kruis, 24, are included for the first time.

Saracens winger Chris Ashton and Sale fly-half Danny Cipriani miss out.

Chris Robshaw stays captain for the four Tests, while the injured Manu Tuilagi is left out of a 33-man squad.

However, the Leicester centre is not on the list of players definitely out of the November matches because of injury, and England are set to add more names to the squad after the weekend.

“We are still monitoring a number of players injury-wise and with another intensive round of European games to come, including the Wasps-Harlequins and Sale-Clermont games on Sunday, there are likely to be additions to the squad,” said head coach Stuart Lancaster.

“We have included Jonathan Joseph as an injury replacement for Manu. It is obviously disappointing to lose Manu but JJ has been in great form and deserves this chance.

“Our medics will continue to work closely with Leicester’s and ensure that Manu is supported in his rehabilitation from his injury.”

Lancaster said Robshaw, who has captained England in 27 of their last 30 Tests, “continues to lead from the front”.

He added: “With other players now stepping up into captaincy and senior roles at their clubs, we are building a team of leaders who can take England forward.”

Clark has edged out Gloucester flanker Matt Kvesic and Saracens open-side Will Fraser while others who had been tipped for a place but are missing from the 33 names revealed on Thursday include Bath wing Anthony Watson and Leicester second row Graham Kitchener.

Wasps winger Christian Wade, who scored a spectacular solo try last weekend, also fails to make the cut.

The long-time injury absentees include an entire front row in Alex Corbisiero (shoulder), Dan Cole (neck), and Tom Youngs (shoulder), plus another loose-head prop in Mako Vunipola (knee).

In addition to Cipriani, Leicester fly-half Freddie Burns also fails to make the squad – he started the first and third Tests in New Zealand during the summer with Cipriani coming off the bench in both matches.

However, a combination of injury and unavailability affected Owen Farrell, George Ford and Stephen Myler during the summer and they were the three 10s in the squad during the 2014 Six Nations.

England squad

Forwards: Joe Marler (Harlequins), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), David Wilson (Bath), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Rob Webber (Bath), Dave Attwood (Bath), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Wasps), Ben Morgan (Gloucester), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints).

Backs: Danny Care (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Kyle Eastmond (Bath), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath), Marland Yarde (Harlequins).

Players unavailable in November because of injury: Alex Corbisiero (shoulder), Dan Cole (neck), Tom Croft (knee), Tom Johnson (neck), Geoff Parling (concussion), Chris Pennell (groin), Ed Slater (knee), Mako Vunipola (knee), Tom Youngs (shoulder).

England’s Autumn International Matches

Sat 8 Nov, 14:30 – England v New Zealand
Sat 15 Nov, 14:30 – England v South Africa
Sat 22 Nov, 19:00 – England v Samoa
Sat 29 Nov, 14:30 – England v Australia

BBC Sport

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