Overweight, unfit, and with a lack of match practice, Rupeni Caucaunibuca has once again proved that when fit, he is quite possibly the most exciting player to be seen since the likes of Jonah Lomu.
The big Fijian left wing, who has been out for most of the season due to his poor disciplinary record (which includes absence without leave and testing positive for the use of cannabis), scored a thrilling hatrick of tries in his comeback match for Agen against the Pro D2 (French second division) leaders
Scoring the first try in under 3 minutes, Rupeni made a huge impact. I say huge not only because of the quality of the try, but because he is now tipping the scales at a hefty 115 kgs/253 pounds. If it weren’t for his number he could easily be mistaken for a front rower. In fact, his eating habits have been noted as a problem for his health and have been particularly worrying for his manager.
The Agen manager actually last week stated in the press that the game against Toulon was Rupeni’s last chance to perform. The message obviously hit home because perform he did, with three fantastic tries that rejuvenated the Agen fans after a few disappointing performances prior to this thrashing of log leaders Toulon.
The first try, that saw him brushing aside three defenders, was reminiscent of his glory days with Auckland and Fiji. That devastating speed and low centre of gravity once again proved impossible to stop. He made the second try look simple, and his third was sheer class. Making a great tackle, he then got up to pick up the messy ball with one hand and speed away for the try. Very similar to the third try he scored against the
Brumbies in 2003
. Not many players in the world can do that when on the run.
Unfortunately Caucaunibuca has only played twice for his country since his dazzling 2003 displays. Fiji haven’t been very forgiving towards his disciplinary issues, but French club Agen have given him another chance, and with Monday’s startling performance he has more than likely saved his season, and he will hopefully continue to entertain for many games to come.
33-0 to Agen