Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Rupeni Caucaunibuca made his first start for Toulouse in the Top 14 on Saturday as his new team went down 32-25 to Clermont. To compound matters, the former Fiji star was yellow carded for a dangerous high tackle.
In what was a shock move for most, the troublesome - yet extremely gifted - Caucau was taken in by Toulouse after Agen wanted nothing else to do with him. In a career that has been a bit of a rollercoaster, hes been given the opportunity at the biggest team since he was an Auckland Blues player many years back.
Far from being in his best shape, Toulouse insisted they could slim him down and hes apparently already shed a lot of the extra baggage picked up over the years. He did score a try for the French Barbarians against Tonga last weekend, but it wasn't quite in the same fashion we were all treated to in his earlier days.
He did last 50 minutes in that game though, surprising his new manager Guy Noves. "I didn't think he could last 50 minutes - I thought he would only play 30," he said.
Against Clermont they played him at second center but after just 13 minutes he was sent from the field after this reckless high tackle on Julien Malzieu couldn't go unpunished.
Luckily neither player was injured, but it initially had the look of something that caused have caused some damage. There was a nice touch afterwards though as Caucau, on his way to the sin bin, went over to apologise to Malzieu.
Hopefully well see more of the incredibly talented Fijian over the course of the next year. Class is permanent and theres no doubt that rugby fans all over the world will be keeping an eager eye on his progress as he attempts to get back in shape and stay on the straight and narrow.