Rokoduguni set for England call

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Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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England are expected to include Bath wing Semesa Rokoduguni in their elite player squad for next month’s autumn internationals.

Uncapped Rokoduguni has lit up the Aviva Premiership with his electric running so far this season and is set to be named in the 33-man party announced on Wednesday lunchtime ahead of Chris Ashton.

With Manu Tuilagi almost certain to miss the entire QBE series against New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and Australia because of a groin injury, Jonathan Joseph is in line for selection.

The gloomy medical update on Tuilagi was delivered by Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill, who stressed the British and Irish Lion centre will not be rushed back in the hope of playing a reduced role for England next month.

Tuilagi limped off after 15 minutes of Saturday’s 25-18 Champions Cup victory over Ulster with scans revealing a different groin problem to the one that forced him to miss three Aviva Premiership games last month.

A precise timeframe for his return has yet to be finalised, but the damage to his abductor is more severe on this occasion and comes after he sat out most of last season because of chest surgery.

“I’d be very surprised if Manu plays any part in the autumn. He’ll clearly be missing for a few weeks as a minimum,” Cockerill said.

“You’d imagine it being four weeks plus before he’s back on the field. He’ll struggle to be involved.

“It’s not about him playing at the back end of the autumn, it’s about him being fit and making sure he’s 100 per cent so he can come back and do what Manu does.

“The World Cup is a huge thing at the end of next year and he wants to be a part of that.”

England will name their captain for the autumn with Chris Robshaw set to remain at the helm, despite pressure for his openside spot from James Haskell and Will Fraser.

Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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