Since shooting into the spotlight on his 18th birthday by scoring a hat-trick in a New Zealand school match, Taniela ‘Tongan Thor’ Tupou has been turning heads.
While the remarkable youngster has maintained his reputation for bullocking runs, he has worked hard to develop his scrummaging and other elements of the game, crucial for a successful tight forward.
Tupou has enjoyed a steady progression since moving to Ballymore as an 18-year-old – from menacing club Rugby sides while rampaging for Brothers, to the National Rugby Championship with Queensland Country and the tougher proving grounds of Super Rugby with the St.George Queensland Reds before finally earning a Test debut against Scotland at Murrayfield, just three days after he became eligible to represent Australia.
Tupou has brought success to the teams he has been a part of – claiming a U20s national title with Queensland and the Hospital Challenge Cup with Brothers in 2016, plus winning the National Rugby Championship with Queensland Country in 2017.
The 128kg prop grew up in Tonga, but moved to Auckland to join Sacred Heart College on a scholarship in 2011, after touring New Zealand with a Tongan Under-14 side.
Tupou grew up wanting to play for the Wallabies and joined the St.George Queensland Reds ahead of the 2015 season to begin chasing that dream.
To get to know Taniela a bit better, check out the interview below!