11 Jun 2013

Sport: Rupeni Caucaunibuca keen to impress Fiji selectors

4:59 pm on 11 June 2013

Fiji rugby legend Rupeni Caucaunibuca says he's got a point to prove in Wednesday's Centennial Match between the Classic All Blacks and Flying Fijians.

The 33 year old last played in Fiji in 2010 and hasn't played a professional match since undergoing knee surgery in two years ago.

He will play for Northland in this year's New Zealand provincial competition and told Vinnie Wylie he's also keen to impress the Fiji selectors.

RUPENI CAUCANIBUCA: I'm very proud of the people who choose me to be part of classical collection and I'm looking forward to playing. And I want to show the people in Fiji how good I am. And I'm still good.

VINNIE WYLIE: Do you think you can still get back to that best that everyone remembers you from - seven, eight, nine years ago?

RC: Yes. I'm confident for what I have to achieve. I was 104 at that time, but now I'm 107. So it's good to be back in New Zealand and work hard with a friend of mine who used to look after me. And I'm very happy.

VW: So do you feel like you've still got something to prove?

RC: Another two or three kilos more, I think I will be the same as when I started to play rugby in New Zealand.

VW: Do you feel like you have something to prove to rugby fans, that you can still be as good as you were?

RC: I think some people are talking about that and talking about my past, 'cause I'm very heavy, I can't even play. But now I don't have to speak back. Now I think the only thing I have to do, I have to show them in the field the real Rupeni

VW: What are you reflections on your test career when you look back at your games for Fiji?

RC: At the moment it's a big thing for me to go there and show the Fiji Rugby Union that I'm still keen to play for them if they feel I'm good enough to play for them. But the first thing, for me, I have to play well for the Classic All Blacks.

VW: And you're saying that you would love to be a part of that team again if the chance came up?

RC: If I get the chance. If they think that I'm good enough.

VW: And do you keep in touch with friends and people from the Fiji Rugby Union in terms of what's going on up there?

RC: No.

VW: Fiji, if they want you, would they know that you're available?

RC: It depends. The most important thing for me is to go out there and show myself that I'm keen to play. And I want to play well for the ITM Cup for Northland, and I want to show them I'm still keen to play for them.

VW: So do you think you can make it through to the next World Cup? Would that be a target for you, potentially, long-term?

RC: Yes.

VW: And how is your knee now?

RC: Now my knee is 150%.

VW: And, Rupeni, if you had a message for rugby fans in New Zealand and rugby fans in Fiji as they celebrate 100 years and think about you possibly playing for their country again, what would you say to rugby fans around the world?

RC: I want them to come down to Fiji and watch the games because I know I'm going to play for the Classic All Blacks but I'm still Fijian-born. And I'm very proud of being a part of the Classic All Blacks playing against Fiji, but always Fijian.