Talented teenagers bring Fijian flair to GHA’s Premiership campaign

18-year-olds Aminio Bogidrau and Amena Caqusau are contenders for Scotland U20s honours after impressing for Braidholm outfit this season

Aminio Bogidrau and Amena Caqusau have been key players for GHA in the Premiership this season. Image: Colin Robinson
Aminio Bogidrau and Amena Caqusau have been key players for GHA in the Premiership this season. Image: Colin Robinson

WITH Fiji heading to Murrayfield this Saturday to take on Scotland in the Autumn Nations Series, supporters in this country have been thinking about Fijian flair players like Leone Nakarawa, Niko Matawalu and, of course, Viliame Mata who have lit up the pro game here in recent years.

Soon the names of two Scottish-qualified young talents who have Fijian heritage could be on their minds too because GHA duo Aminio Bogidrau and Amena Caqusau are on quite the rugby journey together.

Earlier this week, stand-off/centre Bogidrau started at 12 and Caqusau was on the wing as Glasgow Warriors under-19s defeated their Edinburgh Rugby counterparts 32-12 at Scotstoun.


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The Warriors squad was made up of the best young players from Glasgow and Caledonia regions, and Caqusau scored two tries while Bogidrau put in an assured performance.

In the first half of this Premiership season, the 18-year-olds have been regular starters for GHA having only left school in the summer, and head coach Trevor Carmichael’s faith in the pair has been repaid. Both now have their eyes on Scotland under-20 selection ahead of a big 2023 for the age-grade programme.

Bogidrau was born in Suva, Fiji, but because of his family’s military ties he moved to Germany in his youth and then, when his father relocated to the Army barracks at Leuchars near Dundee, he became a boarding pupil at Queen Victoria School from primary seven onwards.

Since 1908, Queen Victoria in Dunblane has been looking after the children of UK Armed Forces personnel and there has been a number of pupils with Fijian heritage on the roll over the last 15 or so years.

“I hadn’t played rugby at all before I moved to Scotland, but at Queen Victoria we were encouraged to try various sports by Mr [Duncan] Mclay,” Bogidrau said. “It is quite a small school and we were all boarders, so we were always out playing even out with normal training times and, as I moved into senior school, rugby became a big part of my life.

“When we got to our under-16 year we realised that it didn’t matter how big our school was, if we all played to our best then we could do something special as a team.”

Indeed, the under-16 rugby squad – which had players with Scottish, Fijian, Nepalese and other heritage involved – did do something special in late 2019, when they beat The Royal High School 44-0 to lift the Scottish Schools Shield at the Murrayfield back pitches.

By that stage Bogidrau was playing regionally for Caledonia and was set to be part of one of the Scotland under-16 squads heading off to a festival in Wales in the first part of 2020, but then the pandemic hit.

“When competitive rugby returned in 2021-22, as a school team now at under-18 level we just wanted to have a fun season and play with all of our mates one last time,” Bogidrau, who now is a Scottish Rugby academy-supported player, explained.

“We did that and we had some really good games. Although we lost the Scottish Schools Shield final [to Loretto School at the DAM Health Stadium in March this year] we were proud of what we had done as a group

“When I left school in the summer I was keen to focus on my rugby, so just now I am taking a year out from education.

“My academy coach, Kris Burney, knew Trevor Carmichael at GHA, so he put me in touch with him and he gave me a tour around the club and had a good chat with me. I then decided it would be a good place for me to make the step up into senior rugby.

“As a stand-off you are always learning and it has been a big learning curve for me over the last couple of months, but I have loved every minute of it.

Andrew Goudie [the club’s senior 10 who has been injured] has helped me a lot and I can’t thank him enough.

“We have had some decent wins at GHA while getting a win for Glasgow under-19s on Tuesday and playing at Scotstoun was excellent.”

 

Like Bogidrau, Caqusau moved to Scotland – and Queen Victoria  in primary seven. “I have lots of family from Fiji, but I was actually born in England and grew up there,” the winger, who is now studying sports coaching at the University of West of Scotland and is a also a Scottish Rugby academy-supported player, said

“My immediate family are based in Salisbury, so I was there until I moved up to Dunblane to boarding school. I only started playing rugby properly when I came to Scotland and although I began playing scrum-half, I think wing was always going to be my position.

“As Aminio said, Queen Victoria is quite a small school, so we were all really close mates and I think that made us stronger as a unit on the rugby field.

“I played Caledonia regional rugby and then just missed out on the Scotland squads that were going to Wales in my under-16 year, but it just made me more determined to work on my game and come back stronger.”

An impressive 2021-22 saw Caqusau selected for the Glasgow Warriors under-18s in March alongside Bogidrau. Later that month he played in the aforementioned Shield final with his school and then, in April, he was selected as part of the Scotland under-18 squad for the Six Nations Festival in France.

“It was a busy few weeks with everything that was going on and then the Scotland call-up, but it was what I’d been working towards and on that trip to France I just tried to do my best,” he said. “We were coming up against bigger and faster guys than I’d been used to, but it was a good experience and, in the summer, joining GHA just seemed the right fit.

“I managed to score a try on my senior debut on the opening day of this season away to Edinburgh Accies and that helped settle me down while I have enjoyed the challenge of facing the different Premiership sides and the different ways that they all play the game.

“It has also been really good having Aminio alongside me in the GHA jersey and in the Glasgow jersey this week because we have been mates for a long time and often talk to each other about rugby.”

To date, Caqusau has scored seven tries in the top flight as well as two on Tuesday for Glasgow’s under-19s.

So, with Scotland playing Fiji on Saturday, who will the boys be cheering on?

“We will just enjoy the rugby,” Bogidrau said very diplomatically with a laugh. “Both teams will come to play and they are often exciting games, so it should be good.”


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About Gary Heatly 301 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.

4 Comments

  1. Back in the day I watched England U18’s with M Tuilagi & M Vunipola in the team who hardly looked U25 let alone U18, so if these 2, who look physically well ahead, are U18 then….get them in..England, NZ et al have been doing this for years!

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