Taniela Tupou

  • 23 Age
  • 128kg Weight
  • 175cm Height

Biography

Since shooting into the spotlight on his 18th birthday by scoring a hat-trick in a New Zealand school match, Taniela ‘Tongan Thor’ Tupou has been turning heads.

While the remarkable youngster has maintained his reputation for bullocking runs, he has worked hard to develop his scrummaging and other elements of the game, crucial for a successful tight forward.

Tupou has enjoyed a steady progression since moving to Ballymore as an 18-year-old – from menacing club Rugby sides while rampaging for Brothers, to the National Rugby Championship with Queensland Country and the tougher proving grounds of Super Rugby with the St.George Queensland Reds before finally earning a Test debut against Scotland at Murrayfield, just three days after he became eligible to represent Australia.

Although he is still young, Tupou has brought success to the teams he has been a part of – claiming a Super U20s title with Queensland and the Hospital Cup with Brothers in 2016 and winning the National Rugby Championship with Queensland Country in 2017.

The 128kg, 21-year-old prop grew up in Tonga, but moved to Auckland to join Sacred Heart College on a scholarship in 2011, after touring New Zealand with a Tongan Under-14 side.

Tupou grew up wanting to play for the Wallabies and joined the St.George Queensland Reds ahead of the 2015 season to begin chasing that dream.

Highlights

2018

Established himself as the Reds starting tighthead prop and earned selection as a reserve in all three of Australia’s June Tests against Ireland, scoring his first Test try in the second match in Melbourne. Played in the final four Tests of The Rugby Championship – starting at tighthead prop in two, plus also played off the bench against the All Blacks in Japan.

2017

Continued his development as a young tighthead, including two matches in the starting side. Scored a double in his second start against the Blues in Samoa just weeks after his 21st birthday. Named in the Wallabies extended training squad ahead of The Rugby Championship, although ineligible to represent Australia until November. Starred for Queensland Country in their title-winning run in the National Rugby Championship, including an incredible man-of-the-match performance in the semi-final where he scored two tries. Represented the Barbarians against the Wallabies. Made his Test debut off the bench against Scotland at Murrayfield.

2016

Claimed the Super U20s title with Queensland. Made his Super Rugby debut for the Reds against the Brumbies in Canberra, scoring a try in the late stages of the match, which he dedicated to his mother Loisi back in Tonga. Joined Brothers for the back end of the Queensland Premier Rugby season and helped them claim their first Hospital Cup since 2009. Represented Queensland Country in the NRC. Joined the Wallabies as a development player on the Spring Tour.

2015

Wowed fans, teammates and opponents alike with his dynamic performances in his first season of senior Rugby for Brothers in Queensland Premier Rugby. Made his National Rugby Championship debut for Queensland Country in the Andy Purcell Cup match against Brisbane City in Toowoomba. Announced in Reds Senior Squad for 2016 Super Rugby season. Signed a contract extension until 2018.

2014

Signed a two-year deal with the Reds in September and joined the side for pre-season training after graduating from high school in Auckland.

Representative Honours

Tonga Under-14 (2009-2010)

Auckland Under-16 (2011-2012)

NZ Marist Under-18 (2013)

Pacific Barbarians (2014)

Queensland Reds Wider Training Squad (2015)

Queensland Country NRC (2015-2016)

Queensland Under 20s (2016)

Wallabies development player (2016)

Queensland (2016-)

Barbarians (2017)

Wallabies (2017-)