Taniela Tupou doesn’t look like he needs a protector, but when he plays for Brothers, he knows he always has an extra supporter
The man known as Tongan Thor will be playing for Brothers in Sunday’s Premier Rugby grand final, with the chance to share some club glory with brother Criff, one of his greatest influences.
“It’s not every day you get to play with your brother in a grand final,” he said
“Every time before the game he'll come and hug me and say good, luck, do your best and we'll say a prayer before the game and same thing after the game.
“If someone wants to fight me, I don’t fight it's just my brother, he's got my back and it's good knowing you have that kind of support.
“I’m really excited to get out there and play with him on the weekend.”
The decider will be his second title shot this season, after winning the Super U20s title with the Queensland Reds earlier in the year, but only the second of his career and the YouTube sensation was quick to return to club rugby at the earliest opportunity.
Given an end of season break by the Reds, Tupou opted to turn out for Brothers a week after the Super Rugby season finished, to play for his only Australian club.
“It was because last year I was playing for Brothers the whole year and it's good to be back , it's my home,” he said.
“I play for Brothers and I play with my mates, it’s just good.”
Tupou added another chapter to his internet highlights a fortnight ago when he streaked away through Uni’s defenders to score as Brothers shocked the students in the first week of finals.
He won’t be worried about trying to replicate that effort on Sunday, just desperate to pay back the faith Brothers showed in him.
“Can't even explain it, man, (how it would feel to win),” he said.
“I've only one won grand final is the U20s, that's the only grand final I've won in my whole life.
“It'll be good to have another one this weekend.
UQ will go into the clash as favourites, having lost just one of their past 17 matches, though that was a fortnight ago to Brothers in that major semi-final.
The scrummaging battle will be one to behold with Tupou going up against Reds teammate Sef Fa’agase in the pack.
The final kicks off at 3:05pm at Ballymore and will be live streamed on the Queensland Reds Facebook page.