Joe Rokocoko tire sa révérence. Le Néo-Zélandais a annoncé la fin de sa carrière ce dimanche sur son compte Instagram. "Ça a été la plus belle des aventures. Je veux exprimer toute la gratitude et la paix que je ressens après avoir atteint la fin de ce voyage", a écrit le désormais ex-joueur de 36 ans, sans club depuis son départ du Racing 92 cet été.
C’est avec le club francilien que le Fidjien d’origine aura marqué son passage en France. Redoutable finisseur par sa pointe de vitesse à l’aile ou au centre, il a été l’acteur majeur du triomphe des Ciel et Blanc face à Toulon, lors d'une finale du Top 14 jouée à Barcelone en 2016. Il a également joué aux Auckland Blues et à Bayonne.
Son talent a aussi été éclatant avec les All Blacks. International de 2003 à 2011, il connaîtra 68 sélections avec la Nouvelle-Zélande, pour un total de 46 essais. Son palmarès compte 5 Tri-Nations (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 et 2010) mais pas la Coupe du monde, à laquelle il participa à 2 reprises en 2003 et 2007.
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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