Place of Birth: Vaini, Tonga
Senior Club: Brothers
School: Sacred Heart College, NZ
Queensland Country NRC (2015-2016)
Queensland Under 20s (2016)
Wallabies development player (2016)
Since shooting into the spotlight on his 18th birthday by scoring a remarkable hat-trick in a New Zealand school match, Taniela ‘Tongan Thor’ Tupou has been turning heads.
The 135kg, 19-year-old prop 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 Under-14 side.
Tupou grew up wanting to play for the Wallabies and joined the Reds ahead of the 2015 season to begin chasing that dream. He spent 2015 training full-time with the Reds and playing for Brothers in Queensland Premier Rugby.
His strong performances for Brothers gave many local spectators a taste of his capabilities, which he backed up for Queensland Country in the National Rugby Championship - scoring two match-winning tries. His hard work on and off the field was finally rewarded with a Super Rugby debut late in the 2016 season when he took the field as a reserve against the Brumbies in Canberra. Tupou scored a try in the final stages of the match, which he dedicated to his mother Loisi back in Tonga.
*Please note, the scoring in the National Rugby Championship changed from seasons 1 and 2 to season 3. In 2014 and 2015 tries were worth 5 points, conversions 3 points, penalties/drop goals 2 points. In 2016, tries were worth 6 points, conversions/penalty goals/drop goals 2 points.