ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
REGISTER
LOGIN
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
Wednesday Jul 5, 2023

Joe Cokanasiga ready to be unleashed at this year's World Cup

Big Joe Cokanasiga has been a force itching to be released ever since his first appearance at London Irish as a teenager. He stands at 6 ft 4 in and weighs a smidge under 18 stone, which alongside his Pacific Island heritage, has drawn many comparisons with the late great Jonah Lomu. Like Lomu, Cokanasiga is known to run the 100m in under 11 seconds, and when you combine that incredible speed with his serious mass, he can become a defender’s nightmare.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bursting onto the international stage aged just 20, Cokanasiga was touted to become a world-beater. His strike rate of a try-a-game would indicate that is exactly what he has become. Unfortunately, the reality is very different. The Bath winger had been dealt a very difficult hand since his impressive exploits in the 2019 World Cup. A multitude of unfortunate injuries, alongside a lack of confidence and family issues, has led his international career to be disrupted down to the occasional sporadic performance, albeit very impressive sporadic performances.

Prior to Steve Borthwick’s introduction as England’s Head Coach, Cokanasiga was back in the international fold under Eddie Jones and was arguably one of the more impressive players in recent times. This being said, since the change of regime the 25-year-old has had his opportunities in the white of England well and truly shut down.

That is of course, until recently, when he was invited into the pre-World Cup training squad, from which he appears to have made quite an impression. Talking about the pressures he has faced on the international circuit, Cokanasiga spoke with plenty of authority about his potential return to the world stage:

“For me it’s different as it’s my second one, I feel I’m a lot more mature, I kind of know what’s coming. It is [tough] because you get a lot more pressure than you deserve. Something Katie Mobed [performance psychologist] has always said to me is that pressure is a privilege.

“Looking back, I wish I knew a lot more so I could deal with it better. When it all happened it was ‘Oh, this is unreal’, and then when you get dropped you feel it’s the end of the world but in reality it’s not. Now I know how to control my emotions around it and ignore certain stuff.

“I’ve done a lot more mindfulness work, discovering my ‘why’. A lot of breathing exercises. One thing I got into was journaling before I sleep – after a big week of training having a nice debrief, or just writing down before games. I worked with Katie Warriner and that was the one thing I struggled with. The mind stuff has helped me a lot, especially this whole summer. It has made me more determined and hungry for it.

“It’s a long process, going through my whole life from when I was born, how I grew up. My ‘Why’ has always been there, it’s just tapping into it. My ‘Why’ is always my family, but you forget that you play for yourself as well. I always play for young Joe who wanted to be in that Rugby World Cup. I think back to 2015 and being a mascot for Fiji in that first game [against England], standing there and thinking ‘I want to do this, I want to play at Twickenham’. I like to think back and play for the young Joe.”

Alongside his own mental health, Joe has had to deal with family issues over the past couple of years. In 2020, Joe’s father, Ilaitia, a former British army sergeant, was stranded in Fiji and unable to return to the UK due to immigration regulations. Meanwhile, Joe’s mother, Kitty, was battling a brain tumor, but Ilaitia was denied permission to come home and care for her by the British Government.

Fortunately, there have been positive developments. Ilaitia has managed to return to the UK, and Kitty is now in the process of recovery. Speaking about how the troubles have brought them closer, Joe’s mentions his sister, Missy, has given birth to a baby girl.

ADVERTISEMENT

“One of the good things is that it’s brought our family a lot closer together. My aim now is to fight for the other soldiers who don’t have a voice and that’s an ongoing process. The biggest blessing for us is that my sister gave birth around that time, so it was our little sunshine.

“I would love my family to be [at the World Cup]. Luckily, my mum came out [to Japan], but the main one now is my niece. She has her passport now, and I want her out there.”

Comments




Related Articles

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Jonny Gray to exit Exeter Chiefs with immediate...

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Former Connacht hooker shares brilliant rugby...

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Official calls halt to play amidst double-call...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Five of the best tries from the Investec Champions Cup

  • 16 WEEKS AGO

    The dummy that sold the whole of Perth - including the cameraman

  • 16 WEEKS AGO

    Bayonne score 'one of the best tries you'll ever see' in latest match against Exeter

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    Baloucoune shows Andy Farrell what he's missing as the winger tears through Harlequins defence

  • 29 WEEKS AGO

    Seriously impressive Courtney Lawes compilation released after England player calls time on international career

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Danny care binned for high tackle on Courtney Lawes

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Debate rages on after Maro Itoje sent to bin for high shot

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Fiji Drua player Lomani slapped with ban following elbow attack

  • 15 WEEKS AGO

    The sending off that rocked the Six Nations opener

  • 16 WEEKS AGO

    Wrecking ball beats 10 players to score full length of the pitch try

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Danny care binned for high tackle on Courtney Lawes

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Wild start at Twickenham as Quins pull off another wonder-try

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Tickets now on sale as World XV set to face France in thrilling encounter

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    '60 metres, plus change' - massive drop goal stuns fans

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Referee makes 'tackle of the season' as he gets too close to the action

View All

Funnies

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Nick David unexpectedly shows up to semi final in full kit

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: The worst camera angle in rugby history

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Louis Rees-Zammit's real reason for NFL move exposed

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    George Ford falls victim to the kickers curse

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Awesome scenes as Blitzbok fan throws down at the HSBC SVNS

View All

Amateur

  • 70 WEEKS AGO

    You Won’t See Many Better Than This Silky-Smooth Try From Llandovery RFC

  • 71 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes As Caldy RFC Hand Ealing First Championship Defeat Of The Season

  • 94 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 94 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 94 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

View All

Player Features

  • 1 DAY AGO

    2024 Guinness Women’s Six Nations Player of The Championship

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Mack Hansen breaks down over ‘lack of craic’ in comedy skit

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Harlequins make giant new signing

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Nick David unexpectedly shows up to semi final in full kit

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Billy Vunipola releases statement following arrest

View All