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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Aug 1) –The world's greatest rugby winger today, Rupeni Caucaunibuca, may be banned from the game when the Fiji Rugby Union board meets tomorrow.

Acting FRU chief executive officer Ratu Timoci Tavanavanua said Caucau, as he is commonly known, could either face a fine or be banned from representing Fiji.

He said if a ban was slapped on Caucau it would be up to the FRU board to decide how long the ban would be for, and what levels of rugby it would apply to.

An international ban could hobble the Agen, France-based star's future in the game that is played in heaven.

Tavanavanua said the International Rugby Board had not been notified yet because the matter was still an internal one between the FRU and Caucau.

Tavanavanua said to be fair, Caucau would be contacted and told of the decision before the verdict was made public.

"Caucau could either be slapped with a fine or a ban," he said.

"These are the options we have. But if it is a ban, it will be at the national level," he said.

"How long his ban will be for will rest with the board and how they saw the situation. We will inform him first to avoid unnecessary repercussions.

"From my discussions with the national 15s coach Wayne Pivac before the start of the World Cup qualifiers and the other two Tests, Caucau was being released by Agen to play for Fiji."

The France-based rugger failed to present his case to the Fiji Rugby Union Board special sitting over the weekend.

Caucau was expected to brief the special sitting on his reasons for opting out of national team duties when called home by coach Wayne Pivac before the Tests against the New Zealand Maori and the All Blacks.

Pivac again called on the speed-star for the World Cup qualifiers against Tonga and Samoa but Caucau kept dodging his commitment.

Among excuses he gave the media for not joining the team camp included taking his child to his village for the first time, a wife who had a toothache and not being able to get airline tickets for his wife to join the team on the excursion to Tonga and Samoa.

Tavanavanua said a full board meeting would be convened tomorrow to decide on the Bua man's fate.

He said Caucau's Agen club would be notified of the outcome of the FRU board's decision.

"We want to follow all the procedures we have open to us.

"Agen has nothing to do with this case, but we will inform them of our decision soon," Tavanavanua said.

Speaking to Times Sports yesterday a member of Caucau's family confirmed the Fiji rugby's prima donna flew out of the country on Thursday night for France.

The man who made his name with the Auckland Blues repeatedly told the local media he was ready to play for Fiji at any time but then kept goose-stepping training camps.

August 1, 2005

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