Tupou wants another taste of Test rugby

International
by Sam Phillips

Taniela Tupou believes he is ready for the rigours of Test rugby, having taken his game to the next level for the Reds.

Tupou has had a career year as Queensland's go to option at tighthead prop, his scrummaging and defensive work now complementing the world class carries which made him a YouTube sensation.

He is arguably the form prop in the country and that will have him firmly part of Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's plans when Ireland come to town in June.

"I really hope I'll be able to get a chance to play later on this year," Tupou said.

"I've been focusing on the Reds but if I get a chance to play again that would be awesome."Tupou speaks to reporters at Gilhooley's in Brisbane. Photo: Getty ImagesTupou made his Wallabies debut against Scotland at Murrayfield last year but was taken on Spring Tour in 2016, too, as a development player.

That has accelerated Tupou's growth, as even he admits he was in dire need of a scrummaging masterclass when he arrived at Ballymore in 2015.

"It helped a lot, especially at scrum time," Tupou said.

"Coming off of school in New Zealand as a big prop I used to just run over the white boys.

"But if you don't have the scrum you can't play so I have been learning from guys like James Slipper, Sekope Kepu and Alan Alaalatoa.

"I'm looking forward to working with them again in June and then hopefully later in the year."Tupou is having a career year for the Reds. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyDirection from Reds coach Brad Thorn has helped, too.

He has asked Tupou to shelve the gut-busting runs for added impact in defence and at scrum time - a formula which has certainly helped so far this season.

"Thorny doesn't want me to focus on my running," Tupou said.

"He wants me to focus on my D and my scrummaging.

"The running will come later on."