Rupeni Caucaunibuca

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Rupeni Caucaunibuca
Rupeni Caucaunibuca-cropped.jpg
Caucaunibuca during a Toulouse training session, July 2011
Date of birth (1980-06-05) 5 June 1980 (age 39)
Place of birthNabouwalu, Fiji
Height181 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight110 kg (243 lb; 17 st 5 lb)
SchoolBucalevu Secondary School
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing, Centre
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2001–2013 Northland 21 (85)
2002–2004 Blues 14 (75)
2004–2014 Agen 111 (325)
2010–2011 Toulouse 13 (25)
Correct as of 21 August 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2002 New Zealand Barbarians 1 (5)
2003–2010 Fiji 8 (50)
2006 Pacific Islanders 1 (5)
2010 French Barbarians 1 (5)
Correct as of 21 August 2019
National sevens team(s)
Years Team Comps
2001–2002 Fiji N/A
Correct as of 21 August 2019

Rupeni Caucaunibuca (/rˈpɛn ˈððnɪmˈbðɑː/; born 5 June 1980) is a retired Fijian rugby union footballer who last played professionally for Northland in the ITM Cup. His nickname was the "Bua Bullet" as he hailed from the province of Bua

Early years[edit]

Caucaunibuca or "Rups", as called by those who knew him, grew up most of his life in the village. Caucaunibuca's father was a church minister based around the Bua province on the northern parts of Fiji so his family frequently moved.

Caucaunibuca was a keen rugby player in his youth as he began to show his skills, pace and athleticism during the afternoon touch rugby on his village ground.[citation needed]

Caucaunibuca went to Bucalevu, a school in Taveuni after completing his primary education at Kubulau District School in Bua. He took athletics and would often participate in the sprint event. His talent was recognised during secondary school trials at Ratu Sukuna Memorial School grounds. Caucaunibuca went on to represent the Bua Rugby team at the B Division championship but lost to Ovalau in the semi final. Ovalau went on to the premier competition.

Caucaunibuca caught the eye of the Fiji selectors and coach, the late Rupeni Ravonu at one of the local 7's competition in early 2000 and he selected the youngster to his Police team. Caucau excelled from there and later was rewarded and named in the Fiji sevens team, and his first time to travel overseas.

He has also been the honourable chairman of Hong Kong Touch Rugby Team Rupeni RFU since 2002.


Caucaunibuca played wing for the Fiji national team, and formerly played for New Zealand-based teams such as Super Rugby's Blues and provincial side Northland. He is also known as 'Caucau' /ˈðð/. In his prime, he was generally regarded by both journalists and international players as the greatest attacking player in world rugby.[1]

In 2005, Caucaunibuca returned to Fiji from France in late May to prepare for games against New Zealand Māori and the All Blacks and in time for Fiji's World Cup qualifiers, but failed to appear in any of the June or July matches. He missed Fiji's first World Cup qualifying match against Tonga in Suva but was recalled for their subsequent match against Samoa. After assuring Fiji coach Wayne Pivac he would play, Caucaunibuca missed a flight to Samoa saying he had been forced to remain in Fiji with his wife who had an infected tooth. The Fiji Rugby Union banned him for one year, ruling him out of the 2005 autumn tour of Europe and the 2006 South Pacific Tri-Nations series.

In May 2006 his one-year ban was lifted after he showed remorse and a desire to play for Fiji.[2] In his return match, he scored a try as Fiji lost to the Junior All Blacks, 35–17 in Suva. Later, in a mid-year Test against Six Nations participant Italy, he scored one of Fiji's four tries in a 29–18 win.[3] When Caucau failed to arrive in France for Agen's preseason training camp in July 2006, it was widely rumoured that he had yet again displayed his past lack of discipline. However, Agen's management confirmed that he had contracted a tropical virus in Fiji and had been hospitalised there for several weeks. He was released in August, but lost 12 kg (27 lb) during his illness. Caucaunibuca did not make the return flight to France, as he had been told by his doctor that he could not travel abroad because of his sickness. During his recovery, he witnessed the birth of his daughter. Contrary to reports that he had decided to retire prematurely from rugby, he had also confirmed that he had spoken to his agent, who relayed the message to his Agen Club president that he would join them in the near future.[4] Caucau would eventually be cleared for travel abroad, and would return to France that October. He made his comeback in Agen's first 2006–07 Heineken Cup fixture, a 19–17 home win over Edinburgh. Although he did not score, he was named man of the match.[5]

Caucaunibuca has been described in the media as "one of the fastest and most flamboyant players in international rugby".[6] Scotland international Chris Paterson said of Caucaunibuca that "when he is fit, [he] can be the world's best player" and that he "is the type who can win a game almost on his own."[7] England international centre Mike Tindall describes him as "the best player I have ever played against."[8] For the last two seasons in France, Caucaunibuca has been the league's top try scorer.[9][10] In October 2006 he was awarded France's Player of the Year award.[6]

He was named in the Pacific Islanders rugby union team squad for the 2006 tour of Europe. However he only played in the match against Scotland after missing the first game against Wales and losing his passport thus not making the last match of the series against Ireland. In the Islanders game against Scotland he scored one try and set up another one for Daniel Leo.[11]

On 9 April 2007 it was announced that Caucaunibuca had incurred a 3-month ban after testing positive for cannabis use following Agen's Top 14 match against Montauban on 24 March.[12] This followed a generally poor season for both club and player in which Caucaunibuca had scored a solitary try in 11 matches. Though the ban had ended, he was not picked up by Fiji to compete in the 2007 World Cup.

On 23 December 2007 he made his return for Agen scoring three tries in their 33–0 win over Toulon.[citation needed]

He left Agen following a number of injuries, being released by the club in February 2008. In July, he showed up for his local club, Tailevu in the Digicel Cup after being out of action for over 5 months. He has played 4 games to date for them, scoring 5 tries, which has boosted his career once again since he is currently receiving offers from the Guinness Premiership side Leicester Tigers.[13] After failing to show up for trials for the Leicester Tigers, he joined the Fiji sevens training squad to prepare for the first leg of the season but after much deliberation by the Fiji Rugby Union, he was dropped from the training squad. A few days later, the sevens team coach, Waisale Serevi confirmed that Caucau has flown to France, back to his former club, Agen for another shot to revive his International career and Agen signed him on till the end of the season.[14]

On 13 June 2009, Caucau announced that he would no longer make himself available for Tests with the Flying Fijians. He said getting drafted for Test duty only brought him "bad luck."[15] However, on 18 March 2010, he went back on that decision stating a desire to play at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.[16]

He finished the 2009–10 Rugby Pro D2 season as the top try scorer with 13 tries as well as helping his side to qualify for the Top 14 next season after which he returned to Fiji to prepare for a one-off test against the Wallabies in Canberra on 5 June.[17]

After failing to arrive in time to the club, he was fired and told to leave as the players and management no longer "trusted" him.[18]

In October 2010, Caucau was recruited by the European champions, Stade Toulousain who signed him on as a "medical-joker" (replacement for injured centre Yann David). The move was facilitated by Toulouse's Fijian wing, Vilimoni Delasau. As he was not registered by the Toulousians, he can not play for them in the 2010–11 Heineken Cup but will be eligible if they manage to reach the quarter-finals[19]

In 2010, he was selected in the French Barbarians squad to play Tonga on 26 November.

In March 2013 Caucau rejoined Northland with aspirations of playing Super Rugby again.[20] He has been playing in the Northland club competition and has been in good form and was named in the Classic All Blacks side to take on his home team, Fiji in their Centenary celebrations on 12 June.[21]

In November 2014, Caucau announced his desire to play for Fiji in the Sevens format and looking to make the squad for Olympics 2016. He left Agen in November 2014 and took up a contract with Army SC to play in the Sri Lankan Rugby League.

International statistics[edit]


Team Year Friendlies World Cup Total
Apps+Subs Tries Apps+Subs Tries Apps+Subs Tries
Fiji national rugby union team 2003 2+0 5 2+0 3 4+0 8
2004 0+0 0 NA NA 0+0 0
2005 0+0 0 NA NA 0+0 0
2006 2+0 1 NA NA 2+0 1
Pacific Islanders rugby union team 1+0 1 NA NA 1+0 1
Fiji national rugby union team 2007 0+0 0 0+0 0 0+0 0
2008 0+0 0 NA NA 0+0 0
2009 0+0 0 NA NA 0+0 0
2010 1+0 0 NA NA 1+0 0
2011 0+0 0 0+0 0 0+0 0

Club statistics[edit]

League Club Season Apps+subs Tries
Super rugby Auckland Blues 2002 1+0 2
2003 8+0 8
2004 4+0 5
Top 14 SU Agen 2004–05 23+2 16
2005–06 20+3 17
2006–07 11+0 1
Pro D2 2007–08 3+0 3
2008–09 15+1 12
2009–10 19+4 13
Top 14 Stade Toulousain 2010–11 6+0 4



Playing style[edit]

Caucaunibuca's speed,[23] weight, strength and low centre of gravity have often led to him scoring fantastic tries.[24] In recent years, however, his ever-increasing weight has prompted a move from wing to centre, and although he is still a prolific try scorer, his tries are no longer in the same vein as those for which he originally shot to fame.Although his career span for just few a years he is still regarded as one of the best wingers by rugby pundits from all over the world. [25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jones, Stephen (14 September 2008). "Rupeni Caucaunibuca: Wing and a prayer". London: The Sunday Times. Retrieved 14 September 2008.
  2. ^ "Banned Caucau gets early reprieve". BBC Sport. 29 May 2006. Retrieved 7 June 2006.
  3. ^ "Italy fall to Fiji in Lautoka: Caucau and company leave Azzurri standing". 17 June 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2006.[dead link]
  4. ^ "No Early Retirement for Caucau". / 11 August 2006. Retrieved 30 August 2006.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Agen snatch a late victory". 20 October 2006. Archived from the original on 21 October 2006. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
  6. ^ a b "Fiji wing wins French rugby award". CNN. 9 October 2006. Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  7. ^ Lothian, Bill (15 November 2006). "Paterson ready to face 'world's best player'". Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2006.
  8. ^ "High Praise for Man-of-the-Match Rupeni". 12 January 2007. Archived from the original on 16 January 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2007.
  9. ^ Official TOP 16 statistics, 2004–05 Archived 23 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine (in French; click on "Les meilleurs marquers"). Retrieved 17 June 2006.
  10. ^ Official TOP 14 statistics, 2005–06 Archived 24 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine (in French; click on "Les meilleurs marquers"). Retrieved 17 June 2006.
  11. ^ "Scotland 43 – Pacific islander 22". BBC. 18 November 2006. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  12. ^ "Caucaunibuca gets three-month ban". Planet Rugby. 8 June 2007. Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 16 May 2008.
  13. ^ "Tigers join Caucau hunt – Fiji Times Online". 20 August 2008. Archived from the original on 21 August 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Rugby Union News". Planet Rugby. Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  15. ^ "No more Fiji for me: Caucau says club only – Fiji Times Online". 14 June 2009. Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  16. ^ "Caucau wants to play for Fiji again". Fiji Sun. 18 March 2010. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
  17. ^ [1] Archived 7 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Rugby Union Tournaments | Top 14". Planet Rugby. 8 September 2010. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
  19. ^ "Rugby Union News, Live Rugby Scores, Results & Fixtures". Planet Rugby. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
  20. ^ "Rugby: Caucaunibuca to return for Northland". Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  21. ^ "Rugby: Caucau all muscled up". Northern Advocate. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  22. ^ "Rugby Union – ESPN Scrum – Statsguru – Player analysis – Rupeni Caucaunibuca – Test matches". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  23. ^ "Who Is The Fastest Man In World Rugby !! ?? | Ign Boards". Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  24. ^ "Rugby videos of tackles, tries, funny incidents and more: Rupeni Caucaunibuca vs Scotland WC 2003". 19 September 2007. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  25. ^ "Rupeni Caucau in for Fiji against Australia". Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2013.

External links[edit]