Tongan Thor extends contract with Reds and Wallabies: 'I want to be part of that'




The Queensland Reds have re-signed prop Taniela Tupou for the next two Super Rugby seasons.

Taniela Tupou told 1 NEWS that he has always idolised Wallabies players George Smith, Quade Cooper and Will Genia, despite his Kiwi connection.
Source: 1 NEWS

It ensures the Reds retain the services of one of the most exciting talents in Australian rugby until at least the end of 2020.

The 21-year-old, nicknamed the 'Tongan Thor', has enjoyed a terrific start to the new season and earned glowing praise from new coach Brad Thorn after last weekend's win over the Brumbies for his role in Queensland's set-piece domination.

Tupou made his Super Rugby debut in 2016 and last year earned his first Test cap for the Wallabies.

"Ballymore is my second home and the Reds are like my second family. This is where I started my professional career and I really want to contribute to the team," Tupou said.

Former NZ schoolboy Taniela Tupou became an internet hit when he scored a hat-trick for Sacred Heart College.
Source: 1 NEWS

"We're learning a lot from Brad. He knows how to win. We're a young team who are working hard for each other, it feels like we are heading in the right direction and I want to be a part of that."

Thorn said Tupou had come a long way from the teenager who become a viral hit on YouTube thanks to clips of him in high-school rugby bulldozing under-sized opponents.

"He might still be known for his big runs, but he's worked incredibly hard to develop the rest of his game and I'd like to think he's known as a tighthead prop and a scrummager now too," Thorn said.

Taniela Tupou said the media came up with his catchy nickname, and it stuck.
Source: 1 NEWS

Meanwhile, the Reds have further bolstered their front-row ranks by signing South African-born Ruan Smith until 2020.

The twin brother of JP Smith, the 28-year-old has played Super Rugby for the Western Force and Brumbies and was contracted to the Sunwolves for this year but was released on compassionate grounds.

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