'Tongan Thor' suspended for Super Rugby Round 1

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Taniela Tupou's start to 2017 has been dealt a serious blow after he was handed a two week suspension for head butting Liam Messam at the Brisbane Tens.

Tupou was not sin binned for the incident but was shown a yellow card on two other occasions at the Tens, though one was a bizarre decision by referee Damon Murphy for not releasing the ball while the Reds were in the opposition 22.

Chris Latham and Taniela Tupou soak up the sunshine. Photo: rugby.com.au/Stu WalmsleyTupou will not be eligible to play in Tuesday's trial match against the Rebels or Queensland's Super Rugby opener against the Sharks on February 24 as the suspension is up to and including all matches until February 25.

In a statement, judicial officer Chris Newton said he had accepted a guilty plea from the man they call "Tongan Thor".

"The judicial officer determined the event was a red card event," the statement reads.

Lopeti Timani and Taniela Tupou share a laugh at Wallabies training on last year's Spring Tour. Photo: Getty Images"Tupou accepted a head contact occurred. The decision was a lower entry level (four weeks), discounted 50% for an unblemished playing record and extenuating circumstances in the incident, hence two weeks."

Tupou will be eligible to return for Brothers in the Australian Club Championship on February 25 against Sydney's Norths.