Rugby: Tongan Thor runs in footsteps of rugby legend

Sacred Heart College juggernaut Taniela Tupou in action against Mt Albert Grammar on Saturday. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Sacred Heart College juggernaut Taniela Tupou in action against Mt Albert Grammar on Saturday. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Taniela (Daniel) Tupou has been dubbed the Tongan Thor but these pictures show a resemblance to a rugby deity closer to home.

Almost 20 years after one of rugby's most famous moments - when All Black wing Jonah Lomu trampled England fullback Mike Catt into the turf in a World Cup semifinal - Lomu's thundering footfalls probably still haunt Catt in his sleep.

Watch: Play of the day: 135kg prop smashes schoolboys

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Photos of the 135kg Tongan-born schoolboy sensation Tupou in action while scoring a second hat-trick in a week for the Sacred Heart First XV on Saturday suggest plenty of local college players won't be sleeping all that well, either.

All Black legend Sir Colin Meads last night told the Herald he was looking forward to seeing Tupou's career play out in years to come.

"We're all fans and we need a Jonah Lomu. We're already comparing him to Jonah."

Gallery: 'Tongan Thor' in action

Sir Colin said he had been keeping a close eye on news coverage of the teenage prop, who celebrated his 18th birthday at the weekend.

"He's obviously some sort of a man. He's a monster and he's bigger than I ever was while playing."


Jonah Lomu. Photo / Getty Images

While both Tupou and Lomu are of Tongan heritage and possess a rare ability to turn would-be tacklers into road kill, the similarities pretty much end there. New Zealand born and raised, Lomu was an All Black by 19 and a global superstar at 20.

Tongan native Tupou has caught the eye of plenty of scouts, but not all are convinced he will go on to be a success at elite level. If he does, it is likely to be in the unglamorous position of prop. There are also suggestions he may prefer to play for Australia rather than New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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