The Queensland Reds secure spectacular Kiwi schoolboy prop Taniela Tupou, after popular tryscoring video clips saw him dubbed the “Tongan Thor”.
Standout New Zealand schools rugby player Taniela Tupou – known as the “Tongan Thor” – has signed a two-year development contract with the Queensland Reds.
Tupou, 18, burst into the limelight this year with his performances for the Sacred Heart College first XV in Auckland.
The 135kg prop scored a series of long-range tries, employing speed and footwork which belied his size.
Videos of his tries went viral on social media, earning him the nickname “Tongan Thor” and sparked domestic and international interest in his services.
Reds head coach Richard Graham says he will seek to further develop Tupou’s game, adding to an impressive skill base.
“I think he is a phenomenal athlete and his YouTube clip in late May is a snippet of what he is capable of at this early stage in his rugby career,” Graham said.
“He understands there is a lot of hard work in front of him.”
Tongan-raised Tupou says he grew up supporting the Wallabies as they featured some Tongan players.
He says his decision was partly influenced by the advice of Reds and Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper, who grew up in New Zealand.
“My goal now is to try and play for the Reds as soon as I can.”
He will join the Reds later this year after completing his school studies.