England vs New Zealand: Semesa Rokoduguni v Julian Savea head-to-head

A look at the two powerhouse wings and how they got on at Twickenham

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The Independent Online

Who landed the first  big blow?

England’s right wing Rokoduguni takes New Zealand’s kick out of defence and, though tackled by Savea, makes his pass. It was the start of the movement that led to Jonny May’s electrifying run for the first try 50 metres downfield in the opposite corner.

But neither wing contributed much before the interval. Savea’s first pass from a colleague came with 37 minutes gone, Rokoduguni did not receive one throughout his entire game but another catch led, in time, to a Farrell penalty kick.

Who was the happier in defence?

We know Rokoduguni can catch and the  All Blacks gave him plenty of practice. But it is not what he was selected to do. Neither wing had the chance to display much more than the ability to patrol the touchlines, but Savea, pictured above right, impressively charged over Brad Barritt.

 

How well did they fit the team plan?

Games need greater fluidity than this if such ball-playing wings are to make a difference. Savea became more involved after the interval, acting as auxiliary full-back, and Rokoduguni (left) did well to get back to save when Kyle Eastmond was charged down and Savea kicked ahead.  On the other side, Savea knocked on five metres out on his “wrong” wing.

Julian-Savea-2.jpg
Saturday's match was the first time England have stopped Savea from scoring against them

Does Rokoduguni deserve another chance?

No doubt at all about this. England have spent too much time fiddling with their wings to be sure on the optimum pairing and Rokoduguni’s club form suggests that he must remain throughout the autumn campaign (injury apart). He needs to be given the ball to display his strengths as a runner, which he could not do before being replaced in the 62nd minute.

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