LIST | Four young players the BBC tipped to be superstars in 2002 - Ruck

LIST | Four young players the BBC tipped to be superstars in 2002

Prior to the 2002 Commonwealth Games, which included Rugby Sevens, the BBC picked out four players who they though could become rugby superstars.

Joe Rokocoko (New Zealand)

What they said: The new sensation of All Blacks rugby, the 19-year-old is already being hailed as the new Jonah Lomu.He burst onto the international scene this season, his highlight arguably when he ran in two tries for victory in the Singapore round of the world sevens.Despite comparisons to Lomu, the pair’s style varies massively.Rokocoko prefers to dance around the outside of players rather than bulldoze and could be the leading young player in the sevens in Manchester.

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It has been the best ride ever , as I sit here I want to express all the gratitude and the peace I feel after reaching the end of this journey. A fabulous journey that God started for me when I was just a skinny Fijian kid living in South Auckland , taking me from my very first club in Weymouth in 1994, through to my retirement 2019 from Racing 92 in Paris. Throughout this adventure I was incredibly blessed to have been a part of some special teams and to have met so many special people along the way. There are too many to mention, but today I want to take this chance to say Thank you. – To all my coaches, trainers, medical teams. Thank you for everything you taught me and for giving me the best possible chance to play the best I could for each game. – to all the supporters, my agents at CSM and sponsors. Thank you for your loyalty and support and everyone else who has had a role in this game I am so blessed to have played. – to my teammates. To each and every one of you, thank you all again for reminding me why I love playing this game. I will be forever grateful for the special memories we have shared, and for all the things we keep close: our values, respect, humility, friendships, togetherness, brotherhood, and simply having fun playing our game. – to my parents who sacrificed so much and went way beyond the call of duty to help me in my career. I will never forget the feeling of owning my first boots that Mum bought from the local garage sale in Manurewa. Thank you for all the time, love, and sweat you gave as a family throughout this time. All I wish is that in some way I made you proud. – to my family and close friends. Thank you for always being by my side and for your support during all the tough times as well as the happy moments. Most Specially to my wife Beverley and my three boys Cypress, Clément and Cruden for being so patient all this time, letting me chase my dreams around the world and always believing in me even when there were times I didn’t believe in myself. I know without you all, through Gods’ guidance and love I couldn’t have come this far. I can’t thank you enough and look forward to God’s plans for us in the near future. Vinaka 🙏🏾 JR

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How happened next? Rokocoko ended his career as joint second with Julian Savea and Christian Cullen on the All Blacks’ all-time try scorers tally, announcing his retirement on social media in 2019. He finished his career with Racing 92 in Paris, where he has been for five seasons.