RWC Gold: Caucau braced for greatness
Few players, if any, to have won less than 10 international caps will have been talked about as much as Fijian flyer Rupeni Caucaunibuca.
Caucau, as he is known the world over, scored five tries in the first two of his eight matches for Fiji on the eve of Rugby World Cup 2003 and went on to become one of the hottest properties in the game at the tournament in Australia.
His performances against France and Scotland saw him hailed as one of the most exciting attacking players of his generation, and likened to a past Rugby World Cup legend.
“We’d seen him play in a tournament and he was a bit like Jonah Lomu but smaller, really quick,” said Scotland wing Kenny Logan, who got to witness Caucau’s pace and power at first hand in the pool stages of RWC 2003.
“And the only good thing about it is that he was on the left wing and I was on the other side of the pitch so I was quite lucky!”
Despite a despairing last-ditch tackle, Logan was unable to prevent Caucau scoring in the corner to hand Fiji a 13th-minute lead in Sydney. He then went on to destroy Scottish hopes with a sensational second try where he left opposite number Glenn Metcalfe for dead.
For Caucau it was the perfect way to answer his critics after he’d received a two-match suspension following his try-scoring tournament debut against France. “I wanted to show to everybody, to the whole of rugby, how I’m coming back and how I am as a rugby professional,” Caucau told Total Rugby.
Sadly, it was another three years before Caucau graced the international stage again. He earned two more caps for Fiji in the summer of 2006 before representing the Pacific Islanders on their European tour later that year when Scotland were on the receiving end for a second time. His next and final cap came against Australia in Canberra four years later and ended in a disappointing 49-3 defeat.
Also on Total Rugby this week, we look back on a thrilling finish to the Super Rugby season where all of Australia hopes the success of the Waratahs can be translated onto the international stage in The Rugby Championship. Uruguay’s Agustin Ormaechea talks about continuing his family’s love affair with the Rugby World Cup, some of the stars of the ongoing Women’s Rugby World Cup give the inside track on their likes and dislikes, and with less than two years to go before Rio 2016 IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper talks about the benefits Olympic inclusion will bring Rugby Sevens.
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