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Thread: The Rocketman fires up for '08

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    Legend Contributor Flamethrower's Avatar
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    The Rocketman fires up for '08

    The Rocketman fires up for '08
    By DAVID LONG - Sunday News | Sunday, 20 January 2008
    The Rocketman fires up for '08 - Rugby news & coverage - Stuff.co.nz


    Something is missing for Josevata Rokocoko.

    The Fijian-born flyer may have had a glittering career for the All Blacks, scoring 43 tries from 48 tests, but when it comes to the Super 14 Rokocoko admits he still hasn't made a big impact.

    In 46 games for the Blues he has scored 16 tries but only one of them has come in the past two seasons.

    At the age of 24 Rokocoko realises judging his performances doesn't solely come down to how many times he crosses the tryline. But going into his sixth campaign for the Auckland-based franchise, Rokocoko believes it's time to give something to the Eden Park faithful.

    "I still don't believe I've made my name yet in the Super 14," Rokocoko told Sunday News.

    "I've had a go at that every year but now I've got a chance to have a good pre-season, go into camp and just start with the basics."

    Fresh from his wedding to Beverley Politini in Fiji, Rokocoko has an extra spring in his step with the Blues this season, not just because of marital bliss.

    It's the first time since 2003 that he's been able to be a part of the Blues squad from the beginning of the year.

    The All Blacks are brought into their Super 14 squads later in pre-season most years. Last year Rokocoko wasn't able to play for the Blues until round eight because of the failed conditioning programme.

    By that stage Doug Howlett and Rudi Wulf had already established themselves on the wing with Anthony Tuitavake more than handy on the bench, able to cover a number of positions.

    That ruled Rokocoko out of making any sort of impact at all in 2007, which means he's even more determined to make his mark in 2008.

    "I still don't think I have (made a mark)," he said.

    "I guess you always set standards for yourself. You have a height where you put the bar and I look to raise it every year.

    "I want to follow in the footsteps that Doug laid, the standard that he carried onto every competition he did.

    "Those are the kind of standards I look at and where I want to put my standards is at the same levels as guys like that.

    "It's been exciting (at training). I guess now I'm more part of a team again because we've started pre-season together, we go to camps together and it's another season now.

    "It's a time for the guys who have been here for a while to step up as well because some key senior players have left, especially Doug (Howlett) in the backline.

    "But Nick Evans has come along and that's a bonus for the backline."

    The loss of Howlett will be huge for the Blues this year.

    The Super Rugby record try scorer is now plying his trade with Munster in Ireland but Rokocoko wants his influence to live on at the Blues.

    "I'm missing him tremendously," he said.

    "It's quite strange coming to training and not seeing his smile or hearing his humour. Also we haven't got his professionalism around now.

    "We're going to miss his leadership especially and just the aura he brings into the team.

    "Certain players in New Zealand have that amount of respect and can bring that aura into a team and Doug was one of them.

    "But we've still got a team that's excited about having a good season this year."

    Howlett's departure followed Mils Muliaina's move to the Chiefs in 2006. This has left Rokocoko as the sole outside back who was with the team when they last tasted Super Rugby success in 2003.

    Leadership may not be something that comes naturally to Rokocoko but he has taken it on and hopes to take some of Howlett's responsibilities this year.

    "I can't shove myself straight in there and take his (Howlett's) role to try to take too much of a senior role," he said.

    "But I'm looking to take an extra step each week and develop skills from the leadership group, like asking for advice in how to develop leadership skills.

    "I guess I've learnt things along the way from Doug, like how trainings should be done and that everything should be at 100."

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    Champion Contributor Em-Forcer's Avatar
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    OK I know I've had a hard couple of days and I'm therefore in a strange kinda mood - but anyone else reckon Josevata's missus is going for some sort of vowel record? Beverley Politini Rokocoko - I count 11 vowels...

    Hmm OK. My apologies!


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    Veteran Contributor JediKnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamethrower View Post
    In 46 games for the Blues he has scored 16 tries but only one of them has come in the past two seasons.
    That's almost in the same realms as Lote!!!


    Quote Originally Posted by Flamethrower View Post
    "I want to follow in the footsteps that Doug laid, the standard that he carried onto every competition he did.
    Does that include parked cars?

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    I seem to recall "The Rocketman" being talked up for the last two or three pre-seasons???

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    Are Joe and Lote related? Preseason shite.

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    Apprentice The Jackal's Avatar
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    and BOOM he gets a hat-trick on the weekend.

    4 out fo 3 games so far this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Lone Hydrangea View Post
    Are Joe and Lote related? Preseason shite.
    Maybe, but I know which one I'd rather have in my team...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    I seem to recall "The Rocketman" being talked up for the last two or three pre-seasons???
    ide proberly say his talked up because of his international record.... 48games 43 trys

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