The Aviva Premiership season is fast-approaching, but the off-season has given Lance Corporal Semesa Rokoduguni the opportunity to link up with his regiment, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Scotland.
The 29-year-old joined the Army at 19, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great grandfather, who were also serving soldiers. After finishing top of the try-scoring charts for Bath last season, Rokoduguni went back to his base to acclimatise with some new processes.
The winger said: “I’ve recently gone back to my regiment to see where it is right now because they’ve just come back from Germany. For me, it’s all been about checking on the boys, the set-up and the new base, because we’ve moved from tanks to jackals, so our roles have changed.
“It’s been a refreshment course in getting my hands on the new jackal, brushing up on my drills and receiving my reports.”
In 2014, Rokoduguni became the first serving soldier to play for England since Tim Rodber in 1999 and admits that his time with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards has had a hugely positive impact on his rugby career.
“Whenever I’m on the rugby field the army training and the things that I’ve learnt from the Army environment it helps me a lot. Flexibility, punctuality, turning up with the right attitude and the right mentality for your every day job. “
“It’s not really that hard (balancing time) because it’s something I’ve done for a number of years now and I’ve been in and out of the Army base. It’s just getting your head around what’s happening now, what the regiment wants you to do and everything else just falls into place.”
Back on the field, Rokoduguni will make his first appearance of pre-season against Ospreys on Sunday and believes that a solid pre-season has set up the foundations for a successful campaign.
“The boys have the faith and the belief that we can achieve this season, so it’s up to the boys now. The talk’s been done and everything that we said we’d do over pre-season has been done. All we have to do is go out there and do the job. Hopefully the pre-season games will prepare us for the new season.”
Tickets for Bath Rugby’s first three home games of the season against Saracens (9th September), Newcastle Falcons (23rd September) and Worcester Warriors (7th October) are now on sale. To book your seat, click here