'Tongan Thor' inks new deal with Rugby Australia
NEWS: Young tighthead prop Taniela Tupou signed a new four-year deal with Rugby Australia and the Queensland Reds on Monday, softening the blow of a mass exodus of players after the upcoming Japan World Cup.
The strapping 23-year-old, dubbed “the Tongan Thor”, has extended his stay until at least the end of the 2023 season in a deal that secures his eligibility for the World Cup that year in France.
“Queensland and Australia offered me the first opportunity out of school and I feel I have more to do to repay that faith,” he said.
“I only started playing consistently in the last two or three years, so I think there’s still more for me to offer in Australia for the Reds and Wallabies.”
Tupou, who grew up in Tonga, has played 14 Tests and came off the bench with a strong performance in Australia’s 47-26 upset win over the All Blacks in Perth on Saturday.
Voted the Australian Super Rugby player of the year in 2018, along with taking out the rookie of the year accolade, his decision to stay with the Reds is a big bonus for Rugby Australia as so many other players move overseas.
Wallabies David Pocock, Will Genia, Christian Lealiifano, Samu Kerevi and Quade Cooper are all heading to Japan after the World Cup, according to reports, while another phalanx of players are shifting to Europe.