Rugby: Tongan Thor to earn first taste with Reds

Taniela Tupou was a schoolboy rugby sensation in Auckland. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Taniela Tupou was a schoolboy rugby sensation in Auckland. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Taniela Tupou will get his first taste of first-team action at the Queensland Reds after he was named in their squad for Saturday's pre-season game against the Crusaders.

The 19-year-old prop, better known as the Tongan Thor after his expoits in schoolboy rugby went viral, recently signed a two-year extension with the Reds after joining them early last year.

The Reds have talked about not rushing his development. Tupou played for the Brothers club last year as well as Queensland Country in the National Rugby Championship.

He was named to start on the bench on Saturday and is one of 10 newcomers in their 30-man squad to play the Crusaders at Ballymore. Others include former NRL winger Eto Nabuli and former Rebels lock Caderyn Neville.Stand-in captain Rob Simmons, filling in for the injured James Slipper, will lead the Reds onto Ballymore in his first match since last year's World Cup.

"I'm excited by the progress we've made physically in the pre-season but it's now about testing ourselves under pressure," Reds coach Richard Graham said.

"There is a lot of competition for spots and that's a good position to be in."

Queensland Reds squad:

Karmichael Hunt, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi, Henry Taefu, Eto Nabuli, Jake McIntyre, Nick Frisby, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Lolo Fakaosilea, Rob Simmons (capt), Caderyn Neville, Sam Talakai, Andrew Ready, Ben Daley. Res: Saia Fainga'a, Sef Fa'agase, Taniela Tupou, Ben Matwijow, Lukhan Tui, Curtis Browning, Maclean Jones, Michael Gunn, James Tuttle, Mack Mason, Chris Kuridrani, Duncan Paia'aua, Campbell Magnay, Alex Gibbon, Sam Greene.


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