Caucau in for Islander's tour

Blockbusting Fijian winger Rupeni Caucaunibuca has been included in a powerful Pacific islanders squad for their inaugural tour of Britian and Ireland in November.

    A common view of the flying Fijian for most defenders

    The France based winger has played just one full international since his barnstorming displays at the 2003 World Cup but has agreed to join the combined tour.

    "He's very keen to be a part of it and we're very happy to have him because he's a world-class player," Pacific Islanders Rugby Alliance chief executive Sakopo Lolohea told reporters.
       
    "The Fijians have told us he's available so that's why he's been picked."

    The former Auckland Blues winger was banned by Fiji coach Wayne Pivac for a year for failing to show up for a World Cup qualifier against Samoa in 2005 but made a triumphant return against Italy in May, scoring a try in his team's 29-18 win.
       
    "We need all of our best players available for this tour," Lolohea said.
       
    "This is an important tour for Pacific Islanders rugby. Not only do we want to expose our players to the sort of competition they'll face at next year's World Cup but we also want to promote the Pacific Islanders brand.
       
    "Not many people in Europe know a lot of about Pacific Islanders rugby and this is our chance to show them."

    The Pacific Islanders been a strong area of development for rugby, but have constantly faced poaching from Australia and New Zealand as local federations simply cannot compete with the money on offer.

    The IRB agreed to endorse the Pacific Islanders side in 2004 as a way to raise revenue, they then played their first three tests against Australia, new Zealand and South Africa.

    The 28-man squad is made up of 12 Samoan, 9 Fijian and 7 Tongan players and will play a warm-up match against Harlequins on Nov. 1 before tests against Wales (Nov. 11), Scotland (Nov. 18) and Ireland (Nov. 26).

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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