"I'll give it to you": Tupou's message to Hooper in moment of need

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Delivering a "life or death" scrum as the Springboks searched for an after the siren match winner has instilled Taniela Tupou with the confidence he can match it with the world's best props.

Tupou was instrumental in the Wallabies' 23-18 win over the Springboks at Suncorp Stadium and it was his work at scrum time which staved off a desperate South African outfit after the final siren had rung out.

The 22-year-old explained the on field conversation in the moments prior in a way only he could.

"On that last scrum Hoops came up to me and said 'Nela, I really need this from you'" Tupou said post match.

"I looked straight at him and said 'I'll give it to you'.

"It was pretty much life or death.

"If they get a penalty they pretty much win the game so I went in there with everything I had."


It's a telling insight into the impact Tupou has on this team that the Wallabies skipper turned to the five Test prop in Australia's moment of need.

His absence through the two Bledisloe Tests hurt even more on Saturday as he changed the game when he entered the fray in the 47th minute.

"His physical attributes go without saying but how he can give to the team and the way we can go about doing things is his biggest work on," Hooper said of Tupou.

"He's keener than most to live that and we love having him in the team at the moment.

"He's a good influence for the guys around him with only five caps."

Folding Tendai Mtawarira in a 68th minute scrum and handing Matt Toomua three points on a platter in the process was another enormous tick for Tupou.

The man they call "The Beast" is one of the world's best scrummagers and a sign Tupou has turned himself into one of the truly elite scrummagers in world rugby.Tupou was a force at scrum time. Photo: Getty ImagesThat scrum was worth a quiet moment of reflection even for the lighthearted Tupou, who arrived at Ballymore in late 2014 as little more than a raw talent.

"It's awesome going into a scrum against The Beast," Tupou said.

"That's the first time I have scrummaged against him and I have watched him smash a few props.

"When he came on I knew I was going against one of the best in the world and after the first scrum against him I knew that I could challenge him.

"Going from being a running prop to knowing I can scrum is awesome and it's awesome to see that hard work pay off.

"I haven't forgotten what I'm good at but I'm a lot better at scrummaging now and I enjoy it.

"I know I can challenge some of the best props in the world.

"I'm not saying I am one of them but I think I have done the work to be able to challenge them."