More highlights coming Tupou's way

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It’s not just fans who like to watch Taniela 'Tongan Thor' Tupou rip it up on YouTube, the Queensland prop says the clips are hard to avoid.

In the world of social media, the newest Wallaby squad member is often tagged in his highlights clips, a collection that is growing all the time.

He’s not exactly basking in his glory, though.

“It comes up on Facebook and some of my mates will tag me in it and why not (watch it)?. I watch it and see all the comments,” he said.

“Sometimes I look at it and I’m like: ‘maybe I shouldn’t eat that much, that jersey looks tight’.”

All of those highlights could be topped after November 22, when Tupou becomes eligible for the Wallabies, after completing his three-year residency in Australia.

The ‘Tongan Thor’, though, isn’t expecting a carpet ride straight into the Wallabies fold,  just because the eligibility box is ticked.

“I came here (on Spring Tour) last year and gave it everything,” he said.

“I’ll be doing the same thing this year.

“If he (Cheika) thinks I’m ready now, if he thinks I’ll be ready in two year’s time, I’ll wait two years.

“I’m hoping I’ll get the opportunity to play hopefully next week.”

Tupou joined the Wallabies squad on Monday after winning the NRC title with Queensland Country, under the tutelage of Brad Thorn.

Thorn’s expectations have helped Tupou, the 21-year-old said, with the knowledge that an off-day could cost you a chance to play.

“In NRC, there's times I was so close to missing a game because I wasn't doing what I needed to do,” he said.

“That's what's good about Brad Thorn.

“He'll be honest with you  and doesn't care who you are.

“He told me before a game to do something in lineouts and I didn't do it.

‘It was lifting at the back and I had one job lifting the guy and I was more focussed on getting the ball and running out.

“He told me, If you don't do this is this game I'm not going to pick you for the next one’.”

Taniela Tupou was flown straight into Wallabies camp on Monday. Photo: Getty ImagesIt’s a ruthlessness Tupou credits as helping him find the form he had in the NRC, and hopes it will take him to the next step, up there with his childhood idols, like Sekope Kepu and Tatafu Polota-Nau, who are now his national squadmates.

Ultimately, he wants to be able to provide the same inspiration those players did for him as a child in Tonga.

“I grew up and I looked up to Keps and them,” he said.

“Now I'm kinda up there, although not really, I hope my little cousins and nephews see (me) and want to do the same thing."

Australia takes on England on Saturday November 18, kicking off at 3pm local, Sunday 2am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports and SBS.