England wing Joe Cokanasiga has revealed he feels nervous ahead of games against top opposition.
Cokanasiga’s power has made him a force on the international stage since making his debut against Japan eight caps ago and he has all the attributes to emerge as a star of the Rugby World Cup.
The 21-year-old Fijian-born giant has crossed five times in six starts, including against Wales and Australia, and has been hugely effective as a battering ram with superb pace.
But for all his formidable physical prowess, he suffers pre-match tension.
“I’m definitely impressed with how I’ve met each challenge. I get quite nervous playing against the big teams like Australia and Wales,” Cokanasiga said.
“Sometimes I question myself whether I can do it. But then once I’m in the game I’m back to my normal sense and just try to do what I do.
“Obviously I hate being nervous but it shows that you do care. But once that whistle goes, something just goes and you think ‘I’m here for a reason’, so just try to show it.
“The last 12 months have gone pretty quickly for me. I haven’t really had time to think about it and process everything but looking back it’s been a dream come true. Hopefully I can keep building on that.”
All five of Cokanasiga’s tries have been scored at Twickenham, but it is another aspect of playing for England that really excites the Bath juggernaut.
“Singing the national anthem tops that, it’s the best thing and a dream come true,” he said.
“I nearly cried on my first cap. Once you’re singing the national anthem you get a lot of emotions coming through and you feel like everything you’ve done has been worth it just for this moment.”
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