Terrific Tupou a marvel: Sio

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Scott Sio knows the impact Taniela Tupou can have on a Test better than most.

He squares off with the boom tighthead during heavy scrummaging sessions every Tuesday, a challenge he relishes as Tupou's star continues to rise.

He's often left sore and sorry but marvels at the athleticism Tupou is using to quickly becoming one of world rugby's most dominant props.

"I'm definitely looking forward to the day off the next day after going up against him at training," Sio said.

"I marvel at how athletic he is and how fast he is.

"His potential is really up to him and whatever he wants to do.

"His talent will take care of getting the opportunities but it will be hard work that keeps him there."Tupou has quickly turned into a force for the Wallabies. Photo: Getty ImagesAt 135kg Tupou is the fastest player in the Wallabies' tight five and is the strongest, too.

But raw physical traits count for little at scrum time if a prop's technique is not up to scratch and Sio has seen the 22-year-old take great strides in that department.

"When Taniela came on (against South Africa) you could see what he does," Sio said.

"He used that strength and that power that he has and backed it up with good technique."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has stressed the importance of nurturing Tupou as a once in a generation talent but Sio backed the five Test tighthead to start should the opportunity arise.

Scott Sio marvels at Tupou's athleticism. Photo: Getty Images"He is still growing and he is still learning like we all are but I think it's not a matter of nurturing because if he gets his opportunity to start he will be ready," Sio said.

"The first time you are in this environment you are a bit overawed by everything.

"The surroundings, you're trying to find your feet.

"He did that at Super level and he has brought that here.

"He is comfortable in his own skin and he knows what his body can do and when he is in good position.

"I'm really excited about what the future holds for Taniela."

The Wallabies face the Pumas at Robina Stadium on Saturday, kicking off at 8pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and RUGBY.com.au radio.