4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
The brilliant but injury-prone winger has accepted an offer that will dwarf his New Zealand salary, believed to be less than 100,000 New Zealand (61,000 US) dollars for playing for both the Auckland Blues in the Super 12 championship and Northland in the national provincial championship.
"He is the best winger in the world," said Agen acting president Laurent Lubrano, adding his club had been chasing Caucaunibuca for more than a year. However, the Blues are ambivalent about losing the Fijian flyer with chief executive David White describing him as "high maintenance", the New Zealand Herald reported today (Saturday).
Caucau, as he is known, scored some of the outstanding tries at the World Cup, including a brilliant solo effort for Fiji against France shortly before he was sinbinned for fighting. He had made no secret he was unhappy with his New Zealand deal and had been courted by several European clubs, with England side Newcastle sending star fly-half Jonny Wilkinson to New Zealand earlier in the year in a bid to lure the 23-year-old to ply his trade there.
Over three seasons at the Blues he was repeatedly sidelined with injury and managed just 14 Super 12 appearances, averaging a try a game.
His campaign this year in the southern hemisphere provincial tournament was over early when he was ruled out with a major shoulder injury that has required surgery. But he still managed to score four tries, three of them in the Blues win over finalists the Crusaders in Christchurch.
"At times he was sensational but he didn't play a lot of games for us in three years. We're not surprised he's going and we wish him well," White said.
"He took up an abnormal chunk of our medical and management team's time. He was very high maintenance, not just with injuries but across the board."
White said it was "a coach's call" when asked if Caucaunibuca would have been retained by the Blues, who also have star wings Doug Howlett and Joe Rokocoko.
AFP - 2004.