In a positive step for future success at Ballymore, the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) today announced Taniela Tupou has signed a four-year contract extension with the St.George Queensland Reds.
The long-term deal will see the powerhouse prop remain in Australian Rugby through 2023 following the next Rugby World Cup in France.
Tupou joined Queensland in 2014 as a teenager straight out of high school and has worked hard to establish himself as the Reds’ starting tighthead prop in 2019.
“I’m very excited to sign for the next few years. Queensland and Australia offered me the first opportunity out of school and I feel I have more to do to repay that faith,” said Tupou.
“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.
“We have a really good young group in Queensland who have been working hard the last few years and I know we’re heading in the right direction.
“I love playing for Australia. Obviously growing up as a kid, watching them, and now being able to pull on the jersey is an honour. To know that I will be here for the next four years is exciting because it means I may have the opportunity to pull on the jersey again if I continue to work hard.”
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “It’s good to see Taniela Tupou re-commit to Queensland.
“To have him here at Ballymore for the next four years is a great result. He’s come through the system with the Queensland U20s and is only four caps away now from playing 50 games for Queensland.
“Taniela’s developed a lot since he arrived at Ballymore as an 18-year-old. He’s a threat to any opposition. He’s a strong ball runner and is even tougher in defence. With more hard work he can only better,” said Thorn.
Tupou 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 U14 side.
Since moving to Ballymore as an 18-year-old, he has enjoyed a steady progression and brought success to the teams he’s been a part of.
In 2016, Tupou claimed an U20s national title with Queensland, as well as the Hospital Challenge Cup with Brothers, before winning the National Rugby Championship (NRC) with Bond University Queensland Country the following year.
He’s currently just four caps shy of playing 50 games for Queensland after making his Super Rugby debut in 2016 against the Brumbies in Canberra.
The prop added to his prolific try-scoring tally after crossing for four five-pointers during his 15 matches with the Reds in 2019 to finish as Queensland’s equal third-highest try-scorer this season.
Tupou also boasts 14 caps of Test experience with the Wallabies after he first represented Australia against Scotland at Murrayfield in 2017.
Place of birth: Vaini, Tonga
Senior Club: Brothers
School: Sacred Heart College, NZ
Representative Honours: Tonga U14 (2009-2010), Auckland U16 (2011-2012), NZ Marist U18 (2013), Pacific Barbarians (2014), Queensland Country NRC (2015-), Queensland U20s (2016), Queensland (2016-), Barbarians (2017), Australian Wallabies (2017-)
Super Rugby debut: 2016 v Brumbies, Canberra (Queensland)
Super Rugby caps: 46 (Queensland)
Test debut: 2017 v Scotland, Murrayfield
Test caps: 14