The brilliant but injury-prone winger has accepted an offer thatwill 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 actingpresident Laurent Lubrano, adding his club had been chasing Caucaunibuca for more thana year. However, the Blues are ambivalent about losing the Fijian flyerwith 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 atthe World Cup, including a brilliant solo effort for Fiji against Franceshortly before he was sinbinned for fighting. He had made no secret he was unhappy with his New Zealand deal andhad been courted by several European clubs, with England side Newcastlesending star
Over three seasons at the Blues he was repeatedly sidelined withinjury and managed just 14 Super 12 appearances, averaging a try a game.
His campaign this year in the southern hemisphere provincialtournament was over early when he was ruled out with a major shoulder injury thathas required surgery. But he still managed to score four tries, three ofthem in the Blues win over finalists the Crusaders in Christchurch.
"At times he was sensational but he didn't play a lot ofgames for us in three years. We're not surprised he's going and we wish himwell," White said.
"He took up an abnormal chunk of our medical and managementteam's time. He was very high maintenance, not just with injuries but across theboard."
White said it was "a coach's call" when asked ifCaucaunibuca would have been retained by the Blues, who also have star wings Doug Howlett andJoe Rokocoko.
AFP - 2004.