Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

Taniela Tupou looking to 'reach the next level' in fresh start with Rebels

Taniela Tupou at Wallabies training. Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Melbourne Rebels recruit Taniela Tupou has narrowed his focus as he seeks to put a painful World Cup experience and injury-riddled two years behind him.


Tupou managed just one appearance in France as the Wallabies crashed to an embarrassing pool-stage exit, his tournament brought to a premature end by a hamstring problem.

It was the latest in a long line of setbacks for the 27-year-old front-rower, who questioned his rugby future after rupturing an Achilles a year ago.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

“It was a tough few months but it’s all done now,” Tupou told reporters at the Rebels’ AAMI Park base on Thursday.

“I’m back to work now and I’ve got a new goal and that’s to perform for the Rebels.

“The World Cup hurts, but that’s behind me now. It’s time to look forward.”

A fresh start with Melbourne under Kevin Foote could be the answer Tupou is looking for.

The former Queensland Reds man, who turned out for the Barbarians invitational team against Wales last month, is now injury-free and carefully working his way into pre-season training with the Rebels.

If his body holds up, Tupou might yet live up to former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones’s prediction that he will flourish into a world-class tighthead prop.


But that’s looking too far ahead for the man dubbed the ‘Tongan Thor’.

“I just want to be on the field to start with,” Tupou said.

“The last few years I’ve been unlucky with injuries and the strength and conditioning staff here (at the Rebels) have done a great job with managing that.

“For me to reach the next level with my game … I know the fitter I am, the better I’ll be on the field.”


There’s another element Foote hopes to provide his boom addition in order to get the best out of him on the field.

“Happiness. What we know about Taniela is if he’s happy, he plays pretty well,” Foote said.


“Understanding what he values, making sure that him and his family are well looked after in Melbourne and he’s got a smile on his face.

“If he’s smiling, we’ll go well.”

Tupou is one of seven Wallabies in the revamped Rebels squad and leads a beefed-up pack alongside Test forward Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, who spent last season playing for UK club Northampton.

“We’ve got a real physical team, not only forward pack, and that’s something that will speak to the way we want to play,” Foote said.

“We know that we get our speed through our contact and our physicality.

“The team will be quite intimidating, we’ve just got to make sure they play for each other now.”


Join free

Japan Rugby League One | Bravelupus v Eagles | Full Match Replay

Big Jim Show | Guinness Six Nations | England v Scotland

Vancouver SVNS - Day 2 - Full Replay

Vancouver SVNS - Day 1 - Full Replay

Life on Tour: 4

Wolfhounds v Clovers | Celtic Challenge 2024 | Full Match Replay

Boks Office | Jesse Kriel reveals the hardest team he had to play at the Rugby World Cup

Big Jim Walks and Talks with Handré Pollard


Trending on RugbyPass


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

Rugby 8 hours ago
The Simon Raiwalui verdict on the reimagined Pacific Nations Cup

Love it. Bula Would be stronger if the Pacific Lions did not poach the players. Current 2023 Mix. 1.      Samisoni Frank Simpson Taukei'aho  - Tongatapu, Tonga 2.      Nepo Eti Laulala - Moto'otua, Samoa 3.      Aniseto Ofa He Moori Tuʻungafasi - Nukuʻalofa, Tonga 4.      Leicester Ofa Ki Wales Twickenham Fainga'anuku - Nukuʻalofa, Tonga 5.      Emoni Narawa - Suva, Fiji 6.      Shannon Michael Frizell - Folaha, Tonga 7.      Sevuloni Lasei Reece - Nadi, Fiji   More recent others 8.      Pita Gus Nacagilevu Sowakula - Lautoka, Fiji 9.      Samipeni Finau -Tonga 10.   Roger Tuivasa-Sheck - Apia, Samoa 11.   Folau Fakatava  - Nukuʻalofa, Tonga 12.   Sevuloni Lasei Reece - Nadi, Fiji 13.   Vaea Tangitau Lapota Fifita - Vavaʻu, Tonga   Others 14.   Anesi, Sosene Raymond - Apia, Samoa      15.   Brown, Olo Max - Apia, Samoa    16.   Clarke, Eroni - Apia, Samoa 17.   Collins, Jerry - Apia, Samoa           18.   Ieremia, Alama --Apia, Samoa      19.   Schuster, Nesetorio Jonny-Apia, Samoa   20.   Schwalger, John Evan-Apia, Samoa            21.   Tuigamala, Va'aiga Lealuga-Falesiu, Samoa 22.   Laulala, Casey Daniel Eti-Moto'otua, Samoa          23.   So'oialo, Rodney-Moto'otua, Samoa        24.   Toeava, Isaia-Moto'otua, Samoa               25.   Solomon, Frank-Pago Pago, American Samoa        26.   Muliaina, Junior Malili-Salelesi, Samoa 27.   Masoe, Matemini Christopher-Savai'i, Samoa        28.   Kaino, Jerome-Tutuila, American Samoa  29.   Fekitoa, Malakai Fonokalafi-Ha'apai, Tonga           30.   Lauaki, Sione Tuitupu-Ha'apai, Tonga 31.   Taumoepeau, Saimone-Ha'apai, Tonga    32.   Maka, Isitolo-Longoteme, Tonga               33.   Alatini, Pita Faiva-ki-moana-Nuku'alofa, Tonga     34.   Riechelmann, Charles Calvin-Nuku'alofa, Tonga    35.   Vanisi, Osaiasi Kupu-Nuku'alofa, Tonga    36.   Batty, Walter-Tonga, Tonga         37.   Halai, Frank-Tonga, Tonga            38.   Fraser, Bernard Gabriel-Lautoka, Fiji          39.   Jennings, Arthur Grahn-Lautoka, Fiji          40.   Solomon, David-Levuka, Fiji          41.   Rokocoko, Josevata Taliga-Nadi, Fiji         42.   Matson, John Tabaiwalu Fakavale-Nausori Highlands, Fiji  43.   Vidiri, Joeli-Nausori Highlands, Fiji 44.   Sivivatu, Sitiveni Waica -Suva, Fiji 45.   Williams, Ronald Oscar-Suva, Fiji     Rupeni Caucaunibuca played for New Zealand Barbarian, AB's almost got him but he went to Agen and Toulouse. Then rightfully played for Fiji.   *Sivivatu, Sitiveni Waica and Lauaki, Sione Tuitupu actually played for the *Pacific Islanders rugby union team before been poached.  

2 Go to comments
FEATURE Portugal v Spain: History and controversy collide in rivalry for the ages Portugal v Spain: History and controversy collide in rivalry for the ages