Tongan Thor to light up Australian Club Champiosnhip

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Taniela Tupou will light up the field for the first time since the Brisbane Tens in this Saturday's Australian Club Championship clash with Northern Suburbs.

Queensland Reds coach Nick Stiles confirmed 'Tongan Thor' will pull on the famous navy and white Brothers butcher stripes, a jersey he warmed to during the team's premiership run in 2016.

The 20-year-old was suspended for two matches after he was judged to have performed a "red card act" in head-butting Chiefs star Liam Messam on Day Two of the Tens.

The Reds trialled against the Melbourne Rebels the following Tuesday and will open their season against the Sharks tomorrow night, meaning Tupou is free to play on Saturday.

The Reds have put a 40 minute limit on his game time, an enormous boost for Brothers, who will welcome any time he can play given his line busting runs played a significant part in their run to the top of Queensland club rugby last year.Taniela Tupou and his Brothers teammates celebrate moments after they won the 2016 Hospital Cup. Photo: Brothers RugbyBrothers coach Carl Marshall will work with Northern Suburbs coach Simon Cron when the Australian U20s ramp up but they will be foes come 4pm on Saturday.

"They play a bit like us in the sense that they like to throw the ball around and play an attacking style of footy," Marshall said.

"They are highly skilled and are able to catch and pass well from 1-through-15 so we have to be sure we are putting our best foot forward out there."Norths completed a fairytale 2016 with a premiership win against Sydney University. Photo: Norths RugbyMarshall did not rue the fact that half of his premiership winning XV will not start on Saturday, be it through departures to other clubs, overseas and in Brisbane, as well as injuries.

"We back our Colts, we like to put in a big recruitment drive and get the best Colts we possibly can," he said.

"But on top of that we want them to come here because they see what they can be a part of and what is happening here."

Cron was similarly matter of fact when he spoke to RUGBY.com.au about the prospect of repeating their fairytale 2016 run to the top.

"When we got to the start of training this year I asked all of the boys that played in last year's final to put their hand up," he said.

"About half the boys put their hand up.

"So the way we look at it, it's not going back-to-back at all, it's a completely new squad that needs to start from scratch again," - Simon Cron

"We have wiped 2016 clean and we have to better than we were last year.

"That starts again for us on Saturday."

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