Tongan born New Zealand schoolboy Taniela Tupou, will join the Queensland reds for at least two years from the 2015 season.
The teenage sensation was apparently being chased by eight different teams from four countries. So what persuaded Tupou to travel across the ditch to Queensland? A phone call from his hero Quade Cooper.
Tupou posted a Facebook status up, which has since been deleted, stating:
“Just can’t believe it, This random number rang me!!” Followed by a description of the phone call, which is shown in the photo below.
The teenager became a hot topic in rugby circles around the globe after a youtube video was uploaded of his school rugby game for Sacred Heart in Auckland. During the video, Tupou went on to score three talented tries in the first 20 minutes.
The signing adds to a long list of new recruits who will be wearing Red next year, following a poor performance in 2014, including: Kamichael Hunt and James O’Conner. It also proves to be an important signing for Australian rugby, with English and cashed up French clubs fighting for his services. New Zealand officials were even willing to change their own eligibility rules, to allow him to play for their Schoolboys team.
The 135Kg, 18 year old prop grew up in Tonga, travelling to New Zealand with the Tongan Under 14s’ side, after which he received a scholarship to Sacred Heart College in 2011. He grew up idolising the Wallabies, striving to represent Australia one day, however he understands that he has a lot of work in front of him.
The Reds incumbent props; James Slipper, Ben Daley and Greg Holmes are all very experienced front rowers, who will help mentor Tupou into an all around prop over the next few years.
A lot of hype has been building around this young star and everyone in Queensland will hope he fulfills his potential, but will he prove to be a worthy investment? Only time will tell…
Written by Nelson Dale