Former All Blacks winger Joe Rokocoko announced his retirement at the weekend, sharing a message on Instagram.
In the post, the 36-year-old shared photos of his entire rugby career, dating back to when he was a schoolboy and explained how rugby had taken him “from my very first club in Weymouth in 1994 through to my retirement 2019 from Racing 92 in Paris”.
The winger thanked all of those that have helped him throughout his career and said that he is “incredibly blessed to have been a part of some special teams and to have met so many special people along the way”.
These teams include the Blues, who were the 2003 Super Rugby champions, the 2003 and 2007 All Blacks World Cup squads and a Racing 92 team that won the Top 14 in 2016. This is what he shared:
View this post on Instagram
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
Despite his All Blacks career ending in 2010, Rokocoko continued to thrive in Europe with both Bayonne and Racing. Although his time in Test rugby was relatively short compared to some other stars, he is tied with Julian Savea and Christian Cullen in second place as his country’s top try scorer with 46 tries in 68 games.
The Fijian-born winger burst onto the scene as a 20-year-old in 2003 and by the end of the year he had scored a world record 17 tries in 12 Test games. He was one of the most natural finishers the game had ever seen and had a staggering 25 tries in his first 20 games.
Although he was on course to break multiple try-scoring record, his career may have slowed down slightly after the meteoric rise he had had and he notably missed out on the squad for the 2005 British and Irish Lions series. However, it is impossible to be the All Blacks’ second-highest try-scorer without being one of the greats of the game.
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