England v New Zealand
Lancaster backs Rokoduguni to impress
ESPN Staff
November 6, 2014
Lance Corporal Semesa Rokoduguni of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards on the week where he will make his Test debut, Warminster, October 31, 2014
Semesa Rokoduguni is a serving soldier in the British Army © Getty Images

England coach Stuart Lancaster has backed uncapped wing Semesa Rokoduguni and new father Dave Attwood to rise to the challenge of tackling world champions New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.

Rokoduguni takes on the right wing berth for Saturday's game while Attwood is named at lock in the week his fiancée gave birth to their first child. For Rokoduguni, he has been rewarded for an outstanding start to the season and Lancaster expects him to take his chance.

"He is very composed and calm," said Lancaster. "He's diligent, he's done his preparation. He has been on our radar for a while and there are a lot of stats that say he is topping every category.

"I'm delighted for Roko. Wing is an extremely competitive position, but he has pushed himself forward with his form this season and it's great to be able to give him this opportunity."

Rokoduguni is one of three uncapped players in the 23 with Bath team-mate Anthony Watson offering back-three cover from the bench and George Kruis of Saracens the second-row replacement. Lancaster has no qualms about the inclusion of Attwood, one of seven Bath players in the matchday squad, so soon after becoming a dad.

"He's got even more to play for this weekend now," said Lancaster. "He's absolutely fine. In fact the biggest worry would be if the baby hadn't arrived yet and if that would have played on his mind.

"He's had an eventful week. He's back with us now and will be ready to go for Saturday."

Danny Care and Owen Farrell form the half-backs with Farrell chosen despite being restricted to only two starts for Saracens this season because of a thigh strain. Lancaster said Farrell's performance in training had earned him his place ahead of George Ford.

"George has had a great season as well but Owen has been excellent in training. George will continue to push him and his opportunity will come at some point."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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