'He's got way better skills than me' - Hurricanes and Fiji cult hero Bill Cavubati on son Caleb's rugby progress

Former Hurricanes and Fiji prop Bill Cavubati is in Auckland supporting an up and coming sevens star on the secondary schools circuit – his son Caleb.

The former Fiji international said he worries about his son and the weight of expectation for him to follow in his weighty footsteps.

"I enjoyed it when he was a soccer player because sometimes it puts a lot of pressure, when your dad played the expectation is like, 'your dad did this,'" said Bill Cavubati.

"But I'm glad he's playing a different position than me, I thought I was a back sometimes - not all the time."

Caleb is playing for the Fijian team in the Condor World 7s tournament, which begins tomorrow.

Caleb will be competing for Fiji at the Condor World Sevens tournament in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

"I always tell him he's got way more better skills than me, good work ethic, so way better than our era."

Caleb made the switch from football to rugby three years ago and is part of the Hurricanes development system.

Bill Cuvibati said he's proud to see NZ-born Fijians choose to play for their parents' country of birth.

"It's good to see some of the boys born here as well come over to the Fijian side, they want to know their Fijian heritage.

Bill Cavubati, Wellington v Waikato, NPC, Rugby Union, 1995. PHOTOSPORT
Former Wellington prop Bill Cavubati in action against Canterbury. Source: Photosport

"Which is pretty good for us and they are enjoying it, it is something very different."

Caleb Cuvibati said his father always gives sound advice whenever he needs help.

"He's got a lot of good advice like if I have trouble with something, he knows the game of rugby and I'm still learning," said Caleb.

"It's really good to have him there to help me as player and as a person."

Caleb's preferred position in rugby is second-five eighth.

Bill played 19 games for the Hurricanes between 1996-1998 and played 38 Tests for Fiji from 1995-2005.

Caleb Cavubati made the switch to rugby from football three years ago and is playing for Fiji at the Condor World Schools 7s tournament in Auckland this weekend. Source: 1 NEWS


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Most read: Meet the Kiwi farmer who went from being a Black Fern to becoming the first female to ref a men's first-class game

This story was first published on Tuesday September 18

Former Black Fern Rebecca Mahoney may have made history when she became the first woman to referee a men’s first-class rugby match last weekend, but she’s shaking off the milestone.

"It's not about who you are or where you're from or what your gender is, it's just hard work and a bit of training."

The 35-year-old has been around rugby most of her life, having won two World Cups before trading in her No.10 jersey for the whistle.

That experience came in handy on Saturday in Te Aroha when she officiated her first Mitre 10 Heartland Championship game between King Country and Thames Valley.

"To see women ref out there, there's no problems," Thames Valley captain Alex Bradley said after the game.

"They take control - probably better than some of the men."

But it’s not just her experience from the game that helps her.

Mahoney says farm life in Eketahuna plays an important role too.

"I'm extremely challenged to hit a standard that most of the boys can hit quite easily, and that's not going to change - genetics aren’t going to change that," she said.

"It’s just a lot of hard work that's going to have to go into it."

History shows the rural lifestyle has gone hand in hand with rugby's greatest figures – take Sir Colin Meads as a prime example.

Women have officiated men in Tests between developing nations but nothing close to the intensity of first-class New Zealand domestic rugby.

While Mahoney doesn’t think she’ll ever officiate the All Blacks, she’s happy knowing the path is a little bit closer.


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John Mitchell leaves Bulls for defence coach role with England under Eddie Jones - report

Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell has reportedly finalised a deal to join Eddie Jones as England's new defence coach.

ON THE MOVE: John Mitchell

South African newspaper Die Burger reports Mitchell has been released from his Super Rugby head coaching role at the Bulls after the Rugby Football Union agreed to pay a transfer fee.

The fee reportedly sat between NZ$300,000 and $450,000.

Mitchell will now assist Jones as the team looks to turn around their recent form in time for next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Former Springboks captain Victor Matfield, who played 140 matches for the Bulls, has been rumoured as a possible replacement for Mitchell.

Under Mitchell, the Bulls finished 12th in this year's competition after losing 10 of their 16 games.


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First woman to ref a men's first-class rugby match reflects on journey - 'I wasn't sure it was achievable'

Former Black Fern Rebecca Mahoney achieved a milestone for woman in rugby over the weekend when she became the first female referee to officiate a men's first-class game, but she admits she once thought it may have never been possible.

Mahoney, who played 16 matches for the Black Ferns before transitioning to refereeing, was put in charge of Saturday's Mitre 10 Heartland Championship match between Thames Valley and King Country.

"Thames Valley was a fantastic host union for me," she said.

"Just a nice, small, heartland union to get me my first game which was pretty special... the boys were good and it was a really good game."

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

The 35-year-old said she decided to take up the whistle after realising the women's game was growing.

"I'm really proud that I've achieved what I set out to achieve.

"Three years ago, I set the goal of wanting to referee men's first-class rugby and at the time, I wasn't sure if it was achievable.

"But I've had faith put in me and really enjoyed it."

Rebecca Mahoney controlled a Heartland Championship match between Thames Valley and King Country. Source: 1 NEWS


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Opinion: Sorry Beauden, but Brodie Retallick is the best rugby player on the planet

If there's one thing to take away from the All Blacks' shock 36-34 defeat to the Springboks in Wellington on Saturday, it's that New Zealand are by far and away a worse side without Brodie Retallick packing down in the second row.

Having limped off during the opening stages of the 46-24 win over Argentina in Nelson the week before, Retallick's absence was felt by the All Blacks, as South Africa sealed their first win on Kiwi soil since 2009.

All Blacks flanker Cane made the remarks teammate Retallick on Sunday. Source: 1 NEWS

After missing last year's end of year tour after a personal tragedy, Retallick returned to the black jersey like a duck to water at the start of the 2018 Rugby Championship against the Wallabies in Sydney, putting in one of the most dominant individual displays, not just by a lock, but by any All Black in recent memory.

He then backed that up a week later at Eden Park, putting in another demolition job against a shell shocked Australian side, helping the All Blacks lock the Bledisloe Cup away for yet another year.

However, a sternum injury suffered in Nelson against Argentina will see him miss the end of the current Rugby Championship campaign, and in a worst case scenario, could be in doubt for this year's end of year tour too.

The All Blacks prop is set to bring up his 100th Test cap, but has yet to score a try in his international career. Source: 1 NEWS

Stats never lie, and the All Blacks' numbers with and without Retallick prove just how much of an impact one player can have on such a star-studded side.

With him in the side in the 2018 Rugby Championship alone, the All Blacks have scored 78 points, conceding 25. Without him, they've scored 80 but conceded 70.

Away from the All Blacks, Retallick's abilities are made clear as well. Before Retallick, the Chiefs had never won a Super Rugby title. With him, they claimed the trophy two seasons in a row back in 2012 and 2013.

Simply put, any team is worse without Retallick in the 23, this isn't just about last weekend's loss to South Africa either.

With the exception of the second Test against the Lions in Wellington last year, all of the All Blacks' shock losses in recent times have come when Retallick is out of the side.

Beauden Barrett said Scott wouldn’t see it as being unlucky to play in the same era as the two world-class locks. Source: 1 NEWS

Against Ireland in Chicago back in 2016 is a prime example. Retallick was probably the most notable absentee - and what happened? The Irish managed to claim their first ever win over the All Blacks, coming away victors 40-29.

Sir Colin Meads retired from playing long before I was born, but there is no way he could have been as influential on a side as Brodie Retallick is at the moment.

Devastating at the breakdown, a force in the lineout, and now seemingly possessing the ability of a back when it comes to open play, Retallick has truly become the ultimate rugby player under the tutelage of Steve Hansen - and thankfully for Kiwi fans, he doesn't look like chasing the Euro any time soon.

The forwards are encouraging NZ to get behind their new trend. Source: 1 NEWS

He may not have the star power of the likes of a Beauden Barrett or a Sonny Bill Williams, but Brodie Retallick's impact on Steve Hansen's All Blacks side cannot be underestimated.

The All Blacks' lock asserted his dominance against the Wallabies last month. Source: 1 NEWS