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Tupou on facing old team: 'If I have to hurt them to make us win then I have to do it'

By AAP
Taniela Tupou of the Melbourne Rebels. Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

Rebels recruit Taniela Tupou is vowing he won’t allow the clash with his former side Queensland to become personal as Melbourne strive for three successive Super Rugby Pacific wins.

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The Test prop joined the Rebels this season on a huge money deal, having started his career with the Reds back in 2016 and going on to win 88 caps.

Melbourne have a number of other former Queensland players in their side, including lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, prop Sam Talakai, hooker Alex Mafi and outside back Filipo Daugunu – all of whom have started the season strongly.

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Ahead of their round four Friday night clash at AAMI Park, Tupou said he still has plenty of close mates in the Reds ranks and has been happy to see them start the season – like the Rebels – with two wins from three games.

Queensland turned in a rock-solid defensive display to shock the title-favourite Chiefs last weekend, and sit third on the ladder.

Melbourne ran over the top of Moana Pasifika in New Zealand and are in fourth spot.

“I watched the game and they’re looking really good – Les Kiss and the coaching staff are doing a really good job,” Tupou said.

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He admitted facing his good mates was something he’d struggled with in the past.

“I used to find it hard to go against guys I’d known for a long time, my mates, but now if I have to hurt them to make us win then I have to do it,” Tupou said.

“It’s something I struggled with in the past but I’ve got better over time.”

The 27-year-old Wallabies front-rower said he won’t let the personal nature of the match-up become a distraction.

“It’s just another game,” he said.

“Coming into this week I don’t want to look at it and make it personal, I will just try and focus on what we do here and do whatever it takes to get us the win.”

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