Reds re-sign Tupou, add another Smith

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Taniela Tupou isn't going anywhere, putting pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at Ballymore until the end of 2020.

The boom 133kg prop, who earned his first Test cap against Scotland on the Spring Tour last year, first signed with the Reds as a YouTube sensation in 2014, when the "Tongan Thor" video took the internet by storm.

Those devastating runs and vicious palms are still there but Tupou is now an elite scrummager, too, making his signature one of the more valuable ones in Australian rugby.

He will continue to figure in Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's plans moving forward, having already made the starting tighthead job his own at Ballymore.Tupou isn't going anywhere. Photo: Getty Images"Ballymore is my second home and the Reds are like my second family. This is where I started my professional carer and I really want to contribute to the team," Tupou said.


"We’re learning a lot from Brad (Thorn). He knows how to win.

"We’re a young team who are working hard for each other, it feels like we are heading in the right direction and I want to be a part of that."

Queensland have also added another prop to their roster, with JP Smith's twin brother Ruan joining the squad.

The Sunwolves released Smith when the pair's mother fell ill and he has been training with the Reds over the week, with the move now made official.


He has also signed until 2020, joining his brother, who has made his mark off the bench in both Reds games so far this year.

"I’m really excited to be joining the Reds, especially considering my brother JP has already settled in and is loving it," Smith said.

"My family is here and Queensland is our home, so it is great to be back here.

"I’m very thankful to the Sunwolves for understanding my situation and making it easier for me to return home to be with my family.

"My parents made sure the family were Reds members as soon as we moved to Toowoomba more than a decade ago and they’ve had the same seats at Suncorp Stadium ever since.

"We grew up as Reds supporters, so it’s a dream for us to be playing for them. It’s actually surreal how it has all worked out."