Video: Tongan Thor obliterates Nehe Milner-Skudder with brutal fend, show pace and power to brush aside TJ Perenara

Taniela Tupou, aka the Tongan Thor, left Hurricanes wing Nehe Milner-Skudder in the dust as he set up an impressive try in the Reds' defeat tonight.

Tupou, who scored himself just after the hour mark in Wellington, set up Jordan Petaia 12 minutes earlier with some play out wide Milner-Skudder himself would have been proud of.

Getting the ball on the line, he fended off the Hurricanes No 14 with a big right fend, before tearing down the sideline, beating TJ Perenara, and passing inside.

Petaia did the rest.

It wasn't enough for the brave Reds, who went down 38-34.

It will definitely give Wallabies coach Michael Cheika hope, however. 


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Watch as All Blacks hopeful Ben Lam destroys rivals on way to try line as Hurricanes edge thrilling encounter with Reds

Recaps 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of the Super Rugby encounter between the Hurricanes and the Reds from Wellington.

Fulltime: Hurricanes 38 Reds 34

Well, what a match. So much closer than anyone expected. Fantastic effort from the Reds, they played so well, but just didn't have enough to get over the line. That's 10 on the trot for the Hurricanes, but this was one of the harder opponents they have faced. 

75min Hurricanes 38 Reds 34

Kerevi crosses to bring his side back into the reckoning. It's a four-point game with five minutes to go. 

68min: Hurricanes 38 Reds 27

Hurricanes Ardie Savea (C is tackled by Reds Izack Rodda  (L) and Kane Douglas (R during the Hurricanes vs Reds Super Rugby match at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday the 18th of May 2018. Copyright Photo by Marty Melville / www.Photosport.co.nz
Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes against the Reds Source: Photosport

And the Hurricanes extend their lead. Sam Lousi gets his second in as many matches. 

62min: Hurricanes 31 Reds 27

Umaga-Jensen lucky not to get 10 in the bin for a deliberate knock-on. The ref gets a good talking to from both captains. 

53min: Hurricanes 31 Reds 27

Man, the Reds are not giving up. Tupou races down the sideline, including a massive fend on Nehe Milner-Skudder. He passes into Jordan Petaia, who finishes it off. Lance adds the conversion. 

49min: Hurricanes 31 Reds 20

He doesn't make the same mistake again. Lam gets in space, goes one-on-one with Daugunu, and beats him. Two hands this time Ben! Barrett is on absolute fire with the boot, his third sideline conversion. 

41min: Hurricanes 24 Reds 20

And we're back. 

Halftime: Hurricanes 24 Reds 20

Reds offside on the stroke of halftime, BB adds the three. What a half of rugby. The Reds are putting up a good fight, rushing the Hurricanes and forcing them into errors. Can they keep it up for another 40? 

36min: Hurricanes 21 Reds 20

And the home side are back in front. After multiple turnovers, the Canes hold onto it long enough to get it out wide, where the lurking Blade Thomson spins out of a desperate tackle and waltzes over. Beaudy adds the conversion. 

26min: Hurricanes 14 Reds 20

The Reds are back in front. Set piece perfection. Lineout, Samu Kerevi busts through the middle, Filipo Daugunu races in. These aren't the same Reds who embarrassed themselves in Japan last week. 

24min: Hurricanes 14 Reds 13

Oh no! Just when you think there is nothing Ben Lam can't do, he blows a certain try. The Canes spin it wide, Lam goes in in the corner one-handed again, but the ball drops as he goes to place it. Certain five-points blown. Hurricanes fans will be hoping it doesn't cost them. 

21min: Hurricanes  14 Reds 13

Good pressure from the Reds and they are rewarded. On the back of a collapsed scrum, Tupou goes low and hard near the posts, and scores. Lance adds the extras. Well deserved for the visitors, after their best period of the match. 

14min: Hurricanes 14 Reds 6

Oh my word Ben Lam is good. After patient build-up (13 phases), the big wing gets half an inch of space, and he makes the Reds pay. Carrying one-handed, he bumps off one defender, and carries two more over the line. Barrett drills the conversion from out wide. 

11min: Hurricanes 7 Reds 6

Hurricanes penalised after a strong carry by Taniela Tupou. Lance nails his second three-pointer.

8min: Hurricanes 7 Reds 3

After two five-metre scrums and heavy Hurricanes pressure, Beauden Barrett shows some nifty footwork to dart over. Adds the extras. That's his 30th Super Rugby try. 

2min: Hurricanes 0 Reds 3

Blade Thomson penalised, Jono Lance lands a very handy effort from 40-odd metres out. 

7.35pm: Peep peep. We're underway. 

7.30pm: It's windy in Wellington, but thankfully, no rain.  

1 NEWS Sport's experts break down this week's action. Source: 1 NEWS

7.25pm: Should the home team win, it will be 40 consecutive victories for NZ sides over Aussie rivals. Sav and Stephen don't see an upset on the cards.

7.20pm: What a night for Peter Umaga-Jensen, making his long-awaited debut for the Canes. And yes, he is related to Uncle Tana. 

PRE MATCH

After a convincing second half display to beat the Blues in Auckland last week, the Hurricanes head home to Wellington, looking to heap more misery on a Reds side with a familiar face at the helm, former All Blacks great Brad Thorn.

The Hurricanes will look to bring up a 40th straight win for Kiwi sides against Trans-Tasman opponents, meanwhile the Reds are looking to salvage some pride after a sensational 63-28 loss to the Sunwolves.

The Hurricanes are chasing their 10th straight victory. 

Coach Chris Boyd has sprung some surprise selections for the Hurricanes, relegating stand-in skipper Brad Shields to the bench, with Reed Prinsep and Blade Thompson alongside Ardie Savea in the loose forward trio.

Halfback TJ Perenara also returns to the starting side after a stint on the sidelines.

TEAMS:

Hurricanes: 15. Jordie Barrett, 14. Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13. Matt Proctor, 12. Peter Umaga- Jensen, 11. Ben Lam, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. TJ Perenara (c), 8. Blade Thomson, 7. Ardie Savea, 6. Reed Prinsep, 5. Sam Lousi, 4. Michael Fatialofa, 3. Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2. Ricky Riccitelli, 1. Toby Smith.

Reserves: 16. James O'Reilly, 17. Chris Eves, 18. Ben May, 19. Vaea Fifita, 20. Brad Shields, 21. Jamie Booth, 22. Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23. Julian Savea.

Reds: 15. Hamish Stewart, 14. Filipo Daugunu, 13. Samu Kerevi, 12. Duncan Paia'aua, 11. Jordan Petaia, 10. Jono Lance, 9. Ben Lucas, 8. Scott Higginbotham (c), 7. George Smith, 6. Angus Scott-Young, 5. Kane Douglas, 4. Izack Rodda, 3. Taniela Tupou, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1. JP Smith.

Reserves: 16. Andrew Ready, 17. Sef Fa'agase, 18. Ruan Smith, 19. Harry Hockings, 20. Liam Wright, 21. Moses Sorovi, 22. Izaia Perese, 23. Aidan Toua.


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'It is going to be a step up' - talented Auckland back Tanielu Tele'a swaps Manu Samoa jersey for Baby Blacks

Talented midfielder and winger Tanielu Tele'a has switched allegiances, swapping the blue Manu Samoa jersey for a Baby Blacks one after being selected for the national squad.

Tele'a is set to don on the black jersey at the World Rugby Championship in France, which kick off in two weeks.

The 19-year-old is still pinching himself, playing alongside the likes of Super Rugby Blues star Caleb Clarke and All Blacks Sevens livewire Vilimoni Koroi.

"Try to keep to myself, but yeah, just like watching those fellas (Clarke and Koroi) train and stuff like that, it lets me know that you're close - you know playing with big names," said Tele'a.

"It's a huge honour and I won't be taking that for granted."

He knows the WRC stage can be a platform to show off his talents, after Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua exploded onto the world rugby scene and went onto play a Test for the All Blacks in the northern hemisphere tour last year.

"Just shows you what our opportunity is, don't be complacent because if you can get it right good things can happen.

"Just got to stick to what my parents said 'keep my head down and work hard', and definitely might get an opportunity one day."

Tele'a was instrumental for the New Zealand side's Oceania Rugby Championship campaign, scoring tries against Fiji and Tonga, with his team going on to win the title by defeating Australia 43-28 earlier this month.

"I think we can take confidence out of that, but at the same time we know it is going to be a step up."

Since making the team Tele'a has had family members and friends congratulate him on his selection while also cheekily asking about donating some of his playing gear.

"There is a little request here and there, not too much, they are good to me. They're really proud of me and (tell me) keep going because they think this could be just the start for me.

He captained the St Kents 1st XV in 2016 and played alongside All Blacks Sevens youngster Etene Nanai-Seturo.

St Kents centre and captain Tanielu Tele’a breaks away. Saint Kentigern College v Kings College. First XV Rugby Union. Saturday 2 July 2016. © Copyright Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Tanielu Tele’a. Source: Photosport

"Along the way I met people like Etene and other mean players so going there (St Kents) was a huge blessing as well, and it's done me well," he said.

"Coming through with those fellas, having my name in the hat sort of thing, it's pretty cool."

Professional rugby is in the back of the mind of the youngster but for now, he is looking to enjoy his footy.

"That's not really the focus right now for me. Just right now is to have fun and enjoy what I do and the rest will take care of itself."

The blockbusting midfielder has a backup plan in mind if playing rugby as a career doesn't pan out.

Tanielu Telea of the Blues scores a try in the match between the Rebels and the Blues during the Global Tens Tournament at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia on February 10, 2018. Photo : Tertius Pickard / www.photosport.nz
Tanielu Tele'a. Source: Photosport

"I was studying at AUT (Auckland University of Technology) recently, communications or something around media or sports journalism or something like that, something similar to the role you are doing right now bro."

Auckland's Tanielu Tele'a scores a try as he is tackled by Waikato's Liam Coombes-Fabling during the Jock Hobbs Memorial trophy final rugby match between the Auckland and Waikato at Owen Delany Park in Taupo on Saturday the 16th September 2017. Copyright Photo by Marty Melville / www.Photosport.nz
Auckland's Tanielu Tele'a scores a try as he is tackled by Waikato's Liam Coombes-Fabling during the Jock Hobbs Memorial trophy final rugby match between the Auckland and Waikato at Owen Delany Park in Taupo. Source: Photosport

He was part of the Blues' Brisbane Tens side that took out the competition earlier in the year, and the Auckland U19 team that won the Jock Hobbs national tournament in Taupo.

The New Zealand team are to meet at Mount Maunganui to train as a squad tomorrow before flying out for France next Thursday.

The 19-year-old represented Samoa last year at the World Rugby Championship U20s tournament in Georgia. Source: 1 NEWS