Tupou's time to shine in South Africa

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

It's Taniela Tupou's time to shine.

The boom prop has earned his first Test start against the Springboks this Saturday.as reward for a recent run of explosive performances off the pine.

Tupou was a dominant force against Ireland in June, the best player on the field in the win over the Springboks in Brisbane and his inclusion is a timely one.

He can provide the spark the Wallabies will require in Port Elizabeth as they strive to turn their poor form around.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said the start would be a chance for Tupou to prove himself from the get go against a hostile crowd and intimidating Springboks front row.

"He can build the concentration from the very start and make sure he nails it all and obviously he’s got a lot of talent and only got six caps now," Cheika said.

"I thought it might be a good opportunity for him in what will be a pretty difficult atmosphere I imagine and (with) a good front row opposite for him to show what he’s got.

"I believe in him a lot as a player and I’m sure he’ll do a very good job."


Tupou's elevation is one of four personnel changes to the starting XV in a pivotal Test against South Africa.

Lukhan Tui (family) and Pete Samu (knee injury) both remained in Australia, with Ned Hanigan replacing Tui at blindside flanker.

Skipper Michael Hooper returns from a hamstring injury to start at openside and David Pocock is back at no. 8. 

There is no specialist flanker on the bench but lock Rob Simmons can provide cover should the Wallabies require it.

Adam Coleman is the final change to the starting XV, teaming up with Izack Rodda in the second row.

Coleman came off the bench for the Wallabies on the Gold Coast a fortnight ago but will start in Port Elizabeth, pushing Rory Arnold back to the bench.

As expected, Michael Cheika has opted to stick with the playmaking duo of Kurtley Beale and Matt Toomua in a backline that is unchanged from that which went up against the Pumas.

The Port Elizabeth clash will also mark Scott Sio's 50th Test appearance.

The Wallabies take on the Springboks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday September 29 local, Sunday September 30 1:05am AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via Channel Ten.

TEAM

IN: Michael Hooper, Rob Simmons

OUT: Pete Samu, Lukhan Tui

Wallabies team to face the Springboks

1. Scott Sio (49 Tests)

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (86 Tests)

3. Taniela Tupou (6 Tests)

4. Adam Coleman (26 Tests)

5. Izack Rodda (11 Tests)

6. Ned Hanigan (15 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (85 Tests)

8. David Pocock (73 Tests)

9. Will Genia (94 Tests)

10. Kurtley Beale (78 Tests)

11. Marika Koroibete (15 Tests)

12. Matt Toomua (37 Tests)

13. Reece Hodge (31 Tests)

14. Israel Folau (67 Tests)

15. Dane Haylett-Petty (25 Tests)

Reserves

16. Folau Faingaa (3 Tests)

17. Sekope Kepu (97 Tests)

18. Allan Alaalatoa (27 Tests)

19. Rory Arnold (17 Tests)

20. Rob Simmons (88 Tests)

21. Nick Phipps (67 Tests)

22. Bernard Foley (62 Tests)

23. Jack Maddocks (4 Tests)