Rugby: Caucau all muscled up

By Cameron Leslie

Rupeni Caucaunibuca's Awanui bootcamp continues to work wonders for him as he remains injury-free and down to 108kg.

His Awanui rugby coach Glen Subritzky puts it simply, "He's no rock star with us. He gets told to do the same stuff as everyone, and if he doesn't do it then he's told to leave."

Subritzky has a strong rapport with the 34-year-old Caucau, who has been named in a Classic All Blacks side which will play Fiji in a friendly match to celebrate their centenary, saying he was flown to Fiji a few years ago to get the flying winger back into shape. But, this time, he's dealing with a changed player.

"He's a little bit different this time round," Subritzky said. "He knows it's his last chance. He has never trained like this before. I think he's going to be in better physical condition, [and] we've got another couple of months training [before the ITM Cup].

"This is a muscly Rupeni, he'll break tackles rather than go around players. This time around he has a totally different body shape, huge shoulders, he was never this big. When he left the Blues he was 104kg and now he's at 108."

Caucau will turn out for half a game tonight for the Mangonui side in their Harding Shield clash against defending champions Bay of Islands.

Subritzky said Caucau's knee, which has been giving him trouble since returning to Northland, was not giving him any trouble at the weekend when he played second-five for Awanui in their 76-12 win over Ngaru Roa.

- Northern Advocate

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